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Africa recovers as international tourist arrivals rise by 4% in 2012 – UN

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plane_passengersThe UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) recorded a growth of 4% in international tourist arrivals during 2012.

According to its World Tourism Barometer released January 28, 2013, the UNWTO said tourist arrivals reached a historic 1.035 billion globally last year as emerging economies regained the lead over advanced economies, 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 one billion (1.035 billion) for the first time in history in 2012,” said the UN agency.

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, according to the Barometer.

Recording 6% growth in 2012, the UNWTO instrument observed that Africa recovered well from its setback in 2011 when arrivals declined by 1% due largely to the negative results of North Africa.

It adds, “Arrivals reached a new record (52 million) due to the rebound in North Africa (+9% as compared to a 9% decline in 2011) and to the continued growth of sub-Saharan destinations (+5%).”

“2012 saw continued economic volatility around the globe, particularly in the Eurozone. Yet international tourism managed to stay on course,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

With a historic record in 2012, the UNWTO now expects the growth of tourist arrivals to continue in 2013 only “slightly below the 2012 level between 3% to 4%.

“The sector has shown its capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions and, although at a slightly more modest rate, is expected to continue expanding in 2013,” Rifai added.

For 2013 prospects, the UNWTO predicted a tourist arrival growth between 4% to 6% growth for Africa.

By Ekow Quandzie

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