China and India fuel world tourism boom

24th Jul 2013

Countries such as China, India and Vietnam have helped make the world officially become an even smaller, more accessible place.

This follows the announcement that the first four months of this year have seen international tourism build on its breaking of the one-billion barrier for the first time in 2012.

The number of people travelling internationally hit 298 million between January and April, according to the world tourism organisation UNWTO.

This is 12 million travellers (4.3%) up on the same four months in 2012.

The growth was mostly driven by the Asia Pacific region, which greeted a 6% increase in tourists, although all regions welcomed more visitors.

Arrivals to Europe and the Middle East jumped 5%, while Africa saw 2% more arrivals and the Americas rose 1%.

By sub-region, Southeast Asia (+12%), South Asia (+9%) and Central & Eastern Europe (+9%) were the leading performers.

Demand from international travellers, whether on group tours or private journeys, is expected to increase over the summer.

From May to August 2013, the UNWTO predicts that the planet will see 435 million international tourists with advance booking data revealing a 4% hike in international flight reservations.

International tourist arrivals are expected to increase by 3-4% over the whole of 2013.

UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai, said international tourism displays an "extraordinary dynamism".

Rifai added: "The 4.3% growth in the number of international tourists crossing borders in the first months of 2013 confirms that tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of our times."

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