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Tuesday October 22, 2013 MYT 12:47:00 PM
Tuesday October 22, 2013 MYT 2:27:55 PM
by s.s. yoga
With unique flora and fauna like this lovable Orang utan (at the Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Center, Sabah) it's no wonder tourists are flocking to Malaysia and spending big bucks for the privilege. - Filepic
International tourism on the rise boosted by strong performance in Europe and South-East Asia.
IT has been quite a stellar year for tourism. Tourist arrivals have increased across most regions. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) for the first eight months of the year the number of international tourists worldwide grew by 5%.
That’s a record 747 million worldwide, some 38 million more than in the same period of 2012.
It was driven by strong results in Europe, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East.
And Malaysia is one of the strongest performers. It placed eight in the top 10 countries with the most growth in international tourist receipts at 12%.
The rest of the countries were Thailand (+27%), Hong Kong (China) (+25%), Turkey (+22%), Japan (+19%), the United Kingdom (+18%), Greece (+15%), India (+14%), and the United States (+11%).
After a solid start of the year, demand for international tourism maintained strength throughout the Northern Hemisphere peak season. The months of June to August have shown sound results – in absolute numbers, international arrivals topped 125 million in both July and August, while in June the 100 million arrivals mark was exceeded for the first time.
“While global economic growth is in low gear, international tourism continues to produce above average results in most world regions, offering vital opportunities for employment and local economies,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai at the Opening of the European Tourism Forum in Vilnius.
“This is particularly important for Europe, where unemployment is a major concern in many destinations and where the tourism sector has been a source of job growth in the last decade. Furthermore, through its value chain, tourism creates businesses and jobs in many other sectors and produces significant export revenues which contribute favourably to the balance of payments in many countries,” he added.
Europe (+5%) benefited the most from the growth of tourism in the first eight months of 2013, with an estimated 20 million more arrivals in the region. Given that Europe is the world’s largest tourism region with many mature destinations, a 5% growth rate is very positive. Central and Eastern Europe (+7%) and Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+6%) performed particularly well.
Asia and the Pacific (+6%) continued to show robust growth bolstered by South-East Asia (+12%) adding some 10 million arrivals.
The Americas (+3%), which gained four million additional arrivals in the first eight months of the year, reported comparatively weaker results, with North America (+4%) in the lead.
Africa (+5%) where growth was by led by the recovery of North Africa (+6%), received two million extra arrivals, while in the Middle East arrivals rebounded by 7% after two years of decline.
As a result UNTWO is optimistic also for the last four months of the year.
Emerging economies continue to lead international tourism expenditure, with all BRIC countries except India, reporting double-digit growth. China posted an extraordinary 31% increase in spending, while the Russian Federation (+28%) and Brazil (+15%) likewise saw a sound increase during the period.
Tourism spending was slower in the advanced economy source markets of Canada (+4%), the United Kingdom (+2%), France (+2%), the United States (+1%) and Germany (0%), while Japan, Australia and Italy saw declines in expenditure.
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Travel, United Nations World Tourism Organisation, UNTWO, international, tourist, arrivals, spending, top 10, Malaysia
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