Voices of Travel

Tourism grows despite challenges

Despite the economic challenges in many of the source markets of Europe and North America, the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer reports that international arrivals worldwide grew by 5.7% during the first two months of 2012, with demand remaining strong in both advanced and emerging economy destinations. In Europe results were above expectations, growing by 5%, and boosted by the strong growth in arrivals to Central and Eastern Europe (up 8%) as well as to destinations of Northern Europe and Western Europe (both showing gains of 6%). The UNWTO points out that Europe’s performance is a continuation of an already solid 2011, when international arrivals increased by 6% overall to over 500 million. Demand has held up surprisingly well in the comparatively mature advanced economy destinations of Northern, Western and parts of Southern and Central Europe, despite continued concerns about the economy. UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai commented: “These are welcome results for Europe in a moment in which countries are looking for sectors that can deliver on economic growth and job creation. We need to work together with tourism administrations to ensure that governments give priority to tourism as part of national policies to stimulate growth and employment.” Go to http://www.UNWTO.org for further details.

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