THE United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has pegged its full-year projection for growth of international arrivals at four per cent or higher, following an unexpectedly strong 1H2013 led by Asia-Pacific and Europe.
International arrivals grew by five per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2013, logging 494 million, according to the advance edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
This surpasses the world tourism body’s three to four per cent growth forecast made at the beginning of the year, as well as the UNWTO long-term outlook that predicted 3.8 per cent annual growth.
Arrivals to the Asia-Pacific region expanded by six per cent year-on-year, spearheaded by 12 per cent growth in South-east Asia and seven per cent in South Asia.
Europe chalked a five per cent increase in arrivals despite woeful economic conditions. Central and Eastern Europe saw 10 per cent more arrivals, while Southern and Mediterranean Europe registered six per cent.
At the same time, outbound travellers from emerging economies continue to leave their mark on emerging and advanced economy destinations.
China and Russia drove growth in travel expenditure as two of the top 10 most important source markets in 1H2013, spending 31 per cent and 22 per cent more compared to the same period last year respectively. Brazil also bounced back into the top 10 with a 15 per cent rise in expenditure after a moderate 2012.