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International tourist arrivals grow 4% first eight months of 2012 – UN

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International tourist arrivals grew by 4% between January and August 2012 compared to the same period of 2011, according to the latest World Tourism Barometer.

The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)’s Barometer has recorded 705 million tourists as at August 2012 and the 4% growth represented 28 million arrivals more than the 2011 period.

“Growth slowed down in June (+2.7%) and July (+1.4%) as compared to the first five months of the year (average of 5%), yet recovered in August at 4%, a positive result for the month that accounts for the highest volume of international tourism in the year,” the UNWTO said in a statement.

According to the UN body, the resilience of international tourism in a continuing uncertain economy is further confirmed by the positive data on tourism earnings and expenditure.

“This growth is a very positive result in view of the global economic situation. We must remain cautious, however, as we have also observed some weaker months during the year, a trend that might return in the remainder of the year,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

UNWTO says it remains confident that one billion international tourists will travel the world by the end of the year.

UNWTO is therefore expecting a growth of 3% to 4% for the year as a whole, while forecasting a slight slowdown in demand for 2013 (+2% to 4%).

The organization has targeted one billion tourist arrivals by the end of 2012.

By Ekow Quandzie

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