The U.N. World Travel Organization (UNWTO) forecasts international tourist arrivals to increase by 3% to 4% in 2013, in line with its long-term forecast for 2030: +3.8% a year on average between 2010 and 2020.
By region, prospects for 2013 are stronger for Asia and the Pacific (+5% to +6%), followed by Africa (+4% to +6%), the Americas (+3% to +4%), Europe (+2% to +3%) and the Middle East (0% to +5%).
International tourist arrivals grew by 4% in 2012 to reach 1.035 billion, according to the UNWTO. Emerging economies (+4.1%) regained the lead over advanced economies (+3.6%), with Asia and the Pacific showing the strongest results.
With an additional 39 million international tourists, up from 996 million in 2011, international tourist arrivals surpassed 1 billion (1.035 billion) for the first time in history in 2012.
By region, Asia and the Pacific (+7%) was the best performer, while by sub-region South-East Asia, North Africa (both at +9%) and Central and Eastern Europe (+8%) topped the ranking.
Results in the Middle East (-5%) improved after a 7% decline in 2011, yet the region recorded an estimated 3 million international tourist arrivals less in 2012.
According to the UNWTO, smaller markets with significant growth were Venezuela (+31%), Poland (+19%), Philippines (+17%), Malaysia (+15%), Saudi Arabia (+14%), Belgium (+13%), Norway and Argentina (both +12%), Switzerland and Indonesia (both +10%).
Although the highest growth rates in expenditure abroad among the ten top markets came from emerging economies – China (+42%) and Russia (+31%) – important traditional source markets, showed particularly good results. In Europe, and despite economic pressures, expenditure on international tourism by Germany held well at +3%, while the UK (+5%) returned to growth after two flat years. In the Americas, both the USA and Canada grew at 7%. On the other hand, France (-7%) and Italy (-2%) registered declines in travel expenditure.