New research from the United Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO) has found international tourist arrivals have returned to pre-recession levels.
According to the data, the number of international tourist arrivals exceeded the record achieved during the same period of the pre-crisis year 2008.
This is compared to a decline of 4.2 per cent suffered last year under the impact of the economic crisis.
According to the latest issue of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, worldwide arrivals between January and August 2010 totalled 642 million, some 40 million more than during the same months of 2009 and one million more than in the same period of the record year 2008.
Based on current trends, the number of international tourist arrivals is projected to increase in the range of five to six per cent over the full year.
In 2011, growth is expected to continue at a more moderate pace, at around the long-term average of four per cent.
Emerging destinations continue to lead growth while Europe recovers at a slower pace
Around the World
Worldwide, international tourist arrivals grew by seven per cent in the first eight months of 2010 compared to the same period of 2009.
Results are positive in all world regions. Emerging economies however continue to lead the way, growing through August at a rate of eight per cent compared with five per cent for advanced economies.
July and August, the traditional high-season months of the Northern Hemisphere, clearly set new records, attracting respectively 112 million and 108 million international arrivals.
These 220 million represented an extra eight million arrivals over arrivals in the peak year 2008, and 12 million more compared with the crisis year 2009.
“These results reinforce the message that we have been underscoring since the outbreak of the global crisis at the end of 2008 - that tourism is one of the most dynamic economic sectors and a key driver in creating much needed growth and employment,” said UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai, presenting these figures.
“Tourism has been seriously impacted by the global crisis, but less than other export sectors, and is currently rebounding faster and more robustly.”