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Noting the critical contribution tourism makes to European economies — demonstrated by sustained growth even during the continent’s continuing downturn — the European Travel Commission (ETC) brought its Transatlantic Conference back to North America recently; holding the event in New York and indicating that it planned to make the conference an annual event. With tentative plans to hold the next conference in New York during the first quarter of 2014 under discussion. Representatives from the ETC’s 33 national tourism organization members, industry partners who market Europe as a top tourist destination for North American travellers and others were on hand for the day-long session. Manuel Butler, president of the ETC in Brussels, said: “At our first Transatlantic Conference in three years, we considered consumer trends and the transformative power of travel in Europe, where adventure travel was born. We anticipate sustained growth of up to four per cent per year leading up to 2020. This represents approximately 43 million new tourists every year and as many as 1.8 billion new tourists by 2030.” According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Europe tallied more than half of all international tourist arrivals in 2012, or 535 million foreign visitors. With 20.6 million from the U.S. and 4.2 million from Canada, Europe is expected to maintain its dominant status despite growing competition from emerging destinations. In 2012, also according to the UNWTO, six of the world’s top 10 tourism destinations by arrivals were in Europe: Spain, Italy, Turkey, Germany, France and the U.K. Go to for more.

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