Global Tourism Boom Continues

May 18, 2014

Global tourism statistics 2013Measured by revenues at tourist destinations and from international passenger transport, total tourism earnings climbed a healthy 5 percent in 2013, to total $1.4 trillion, according to a tourism barometer update from the World Tourism Organization.

That includes $1.159 billion spent on accommodation, food and drink, entertainment, shopping and other services and goods, with growth in the sector exceeding the long-term trend. The increase in revenues matches the growth in international tourism arrivals in 2013, which also climbed 5 percent from 1035 million in 2012 to 1087 million in 2013.

“These results show that it is time to position tourism higher in the trade agenda so as to maximize its capacity to promote trade and regional integration,” said said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

Passenger transport alone accounted for $218 billion in 2013, bringing total receipts generated by international tourism to US$ 1.4 trillion, or US$ 3.8 billion a day, on average. International tourism (travel and passenger transport) accounts for 29 percent of the world’s exports of services and 6 percent of overall exports of goods and services. As a worldwide export category, tourism ranks fifth after fuels, chemicals, food and automotive products, while ranking first in many developing countries.

Asia and the Pacific lead growth

In absolute terms, receipts in destinations around the world increased by US$ 81 billion (euro 34 billion, comparatively less due to the depreciation of the dollar) from US$ 1078 billion (euro 839 billion) in 2012. Europe, which accounts for 42 percent of all international tourism receipts, saw the biggest growth in 2013, up US$ 35 billion to US$ 489 billion (euro 368 billion).

Destinations in Asia and the Pacific (accounting for 31 percent of all tourism receipts) increased earnings by US$ 30 billion to US$ 359 billion (euro 270 bn). In the Americas (20 percent share), receipts increased by US$ 16 billion to a total of US$ 229 billion (euro 173 bn). In relative terms, Asia and the Pacific ( plus 8 percent) recorded the largest increase in receipts, followed by the Americas ( plus 6 percent) and Europe (plus 4 percent).

A number of countries, including the U.S. (11 percent), saw double digit growth, including Thailand, 25 percent; Hong Kong (China) and Macao (China) (both  up 18 percent); United Kingdom ( plus 13 percent). Receipts in Spain, France, China, Italy and Germany grew between 1 percent and 5 percent.

Emerging tourism

China, Russia and Brazil account for half the world’s increase in tourism expenditure, as dynamic drivers of  outbound tourism in recent years. In 2013, these three source markets accounted for some US$ 40 billion of the total US$ 81 billion increase in international tourism expenditure.

China, which became the largest outbound market in 2012 with spending of US$ 102 billion, saw an increase of 26 percent in spending last year to a total of US$ 129 billion. The Russian Federation became the fourth largest outbound market in 2013, following a 25 percent growth to US$ 54 billion. Brazil entered the top ten by expenditure at tenth place, on the back of a 13 percent  increase to US$ 25 billion.

The performance of key advanced economy source markets was comparatively more modest, with the exception of Australia which spent 9 percent more. France recovered from a weak 2012 with 5 percent growth, while the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Canada all increased expenditure by between 2 percent and 4 percent.


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