People, Travel

Int'l tourism: 2013 Exceeds Expectations

Int'l tourism: 2013 Exceeds Expectations
Int'l tourism: 2013 Exceeds Expectations

After achieving an historic milestone in 2012 – of one billion people traveling the world in a single year – international tourism continued its momentum with a 5% growth in 2013, or an additional 52 million international tourists, bringing up the world total to a record 1,087 million arrivals. Despite the ongoing global economic challenges and geopolitical changes, international tourism results were above expectations and long term forecasts, as the World Tourism Organization reports.

Regions that showed the strongest demand for international tourism in 2013 were Asia and the Pacific (+6%), Africa (+6%) and Europe (+5%), while the leading sub-regions were Southeast Asia (+10%),

Central and Eastern Europe (+7%), Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+6%) and North Africa (+6%).

Results by region

In relative terms, growth was strongest in Asia and the Pacific (+6%), where the number of international tourists grew by 14 million to reach 248 million. Spearheading this growth was South-East Asia (+10%), while more moderate results were seen in South Asia (+5%), Oceania and North-East Asia (+4% each).

Results in the Middle East (+0% at 52 million) were rather mixed and volatile.

The Americas (+4%) saw an increase of six million arrivals, reaching a total of 169 million. Leading this growth were destinations in North and Central America (+4% each), while South America (+2%) and the Caribbean (+1%) showed some slowdown as compared to 2012.

Europe, which remains the most visited region in the world, led growth in absolute terms, welcoming an additional 29 million international tourist arrivals in 2013, raising its total to 563 million. Growth (+5%) exceeded the forecast for 2013 and is double the region’s average for the period 2005-2012 (+2.5% a year). By subregion, Central and Eastern Europe (+7%) and Southern Mediterranean Europe (+6%) had the best results.

Africa (+6%) attracted three million additional arrivals, reaching a new record of 56 million, reflecting the ongoing rebound in North Africa (+6%) and the sustained growth of Sub-Saharan destinations (+5%).