Holidays to Africa and Asia leading the global tourism recovery
According to recent figures released by the UNWTO the international travel industry has been showing signs of steady recover over the first 2 months of 2010 and such a recovery has been lead by emerging tourism markets in Asia and Africa.
According to the latest figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) international tourism is steadily bouncing back from an extremely challenging 2009, and the main leaders of its recovery are Asia and Africa holidays.
These new figures were released in the April World Tourism Barometer Update, where the UNWTO outlines a 7% growth in international tourist arrivals during the first two months of 2010. This follows a 2 % increase that was recorded during the last quarter of 2009, which followed 14 consecutive months of negative results for the worldwide travel industry. And to the rescue came the Asian and African holiday market, which have been recently experiencing a boom in popularity among worldwide travellers.
Rising as the 2 top regions that experienced the strongest growth (especially for the luxury holidays market in markets like Maldives holidays and Sri Lanka holidays, the latter of which has been experiencing an unprecedented boom since the country's civil war ended) were Asia and the Pacific, up 10 %, followed closely by Africa holidays, which were up by 7 %. Europe and the Americas recorded more modest rises of 3 % each.
The UNWTO also forecasts a 3-4 % growth in international tourist arrivals for 2010. This estimate has remained unchanged despite the recent closure of the European airspace due to the ash cloud crisis.
As the UNWTO declared in a statement: “Though there is a clear improvement on the negative results of 2009, this growth must be considered with caution as it compares with a particularly weak period of 2009 – the worst months of the global economic crisis.”
Even when international tourist arrivals in the first two months of 2010 totalled 119 million – up by 7 % from the previous year, they are still 2 % below the value of the record year 2008.
Being optimistic about the negative impact the recent volcanic chaos has had on the global tourism market, the UNWTO estimates that, despite the widespread closure of airspace in northern Europe due to ash cloud, it “might have caused a loss of less than half a percent of the yearly volume of international tourist arrivals in Europe and 0.3 % of the total count for the world.”
Regarding this topic the UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai warned -: “Although economic results have improved significantly in recent months with a positive impact on tourism demand, we must remain cautious as many factors can still jeopardise the pace of recovery.”
Mr Rifai went on to add - “The economic recovery is being driven mainly by emerging economies, while growth is still sluggish in most advanced ones. At the same time, increasing unemployment levels in major tourism source markets is a cause of concern.”
Overall, international tourism receipts fell to US$852 billion worldwide (€611 billion) in 2009, down from US$942 billion (€641 billion) in 2008. In real terms, international tourism receipts declined by 6 %, which was more than the 4 % fall in arrivals, so although there are signals of steady recovery, there still is a long way to go before the global travel industry is back on its feet.
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