LAST year, international tourism receipts exceeded US$1 trillion for the first time, reaching an estimated US$1.03 trillion, up from US$928 billion in 2010, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
In real terms (adjusted for exchange rate fluctuations and inflation), international tourism receipts grew by 3.8 per cent, while international tourist arrivals increased by 4.6 per cent to 982 million.
By region, the Americas (+5.7 per cent) recorded the largest jump in receipts in 2011, followed by Europe (+5.2 per cent), Asia and the Pacific (+4.3 per cent) and Africa (+2.2 per cent). The Middle East was the only region posting negative growth (-14%).
Europe holds the largest share of international tourism receipts in absolute numbers (45 per cent share), reaching US$ 463 billion in 2011, followed by Asia and the Pacific (US$289 billion), and the Americas (US$199 billion). The Middle East earned US$ 6 billion and Africa, US$33 billion.
Among source markets generating strong demand in 2011, it was the BRIC countries that stood out. China’s expenditure on international tourism increased by US$18 billion to US$73 billion, the Russian Federation increased by US$6 billion to US$32 billion, Brazil by US$5 billion to US$21 billion and India by US$3 billion to US$14 billion. Of the advanced economy source markets, Germany, Australia, Norway, Belgium and Canada reported the biggest absolute growth.
Both advanced and emerging economy destinations benefited from the growth in arrivals and receipts last year. Destinations where international tourism receipts grew by US$5 billion or more in absolute terms include the US (increasing by US$13 bn to US$116 bn), Spain (by US$7 bn to US$60 bn), France (by US$7 bn to US$54 bn), Thailand (by US$6 bn to US$26 bn) and Hong Kong (by US$5 bn to US$27 bn).
Furthermore, significant increases on lower base value destinations were reported by Singapore, the Russian Federation, Sweden, India, South Korea and Turkey.