Global tourism spend hits $2 bn a day

12th Jul 2006

An estimated US$ 682 billion was spent abroad by tourists in 2005 - up $49 billion or 3.4% on the previous year.
If spending on foreign passenger transport of $130 billion is added, the total export spend is more than $ 800 billion. This represents some 6% of global export of all goods and services.

“Visitor spending continues its strong overall growth” said UNWTO Secretary General Francesco Frangialli “contributing substantially to global services exports and particularly to the overall trade balances of developing economies. Africa’s 7.8% increase is a significant success story”

In absolute terms all regions shared in the increase on visitor spending ” Europe up US$ 19 billion, to US$ 347 billion (51% of the world total). ” The Americas, up US$ 13 billion to US$ 145 billion (21%) ” Asia and the Pacific, US$ 11 billion higher at US$ 139 billion (20%). ” The Middle East up US$ 3 billion to US$ 29 billion (4%) ” Africa up US$ 2 billion to US$ 21 billion.

In growth terms the order reverses:
” Africa (up 7.8%),
” the Middle East (5.8%),
” Asia and the Pacific (4.5%),
” Americas (4.3%)
” Europe (2.3%).

In comparison to receipts, international tourist arrivals grew by 5.6% in 2005. Again Africa was the fastest growing region with a 10% increase, followed by the Middle East +9.5%, Asia and the Pacific +7.8%, Americas +6. 1% and Europe 4.0%.


The somewhat slower pace of growth in receipts against arrivals is attributed to the fragile recovery of high-yield business tourism, a comparatively strong increase in short breaks - stimulated by low-cost airlines - and a shift towards destinations offering perceived value for money.

Tourism development in Africa has been quite successful in the past couple of years, with the number of international arrivals growing from 28.2 to 36. 8 million between 2000 and 2005, in spite the concerns about terrorism and SARS and the economic downturn of 2001-2003. In the same period receipts even doubled from US$ 10.5 billion to US$  21.3 billion.


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