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UN agency sees strength in tourism numbers

World travelers undeterred by geopolitical concerns
By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 12:48 AM November 03, 2014

Tourism remained a strong industry worldwide as international arrivals grew by 5 percent in the first eight months of 2014 amid geopolitical challenges and lingering concerns over the recovery of the global economy, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The growth figure remained well above the long-term projection of the World Tourism Organization, which expected tourist arrivals to grow by at least 3.8 percent yearly from 2010 to 2020.

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Based on the latest UN agency’s World Tourism Barometer, international tourists traveling from January to August 2014 reached 781 million—36 million more than that recorded in the same period of 2013.

During the peak months of June, July and August, which accounted for about a third of the total for the entire year, the UN agency reported an increase of 4 percent compared with that of the same period in 2013.

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“International tourism continues to grow above expectations, despite rising global challenges,” UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai said in a statement.

“Yet, increasing geopolitical uncertainties and the fact that the global economy shows signs of weaker and uneven growth require our attention,” he added.

Commenting on the possible impact of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa on world tourism, Rifai noted that “although it is too premature to assess the full impact of the outbreak on the tourism sector, at this point, we do not expect a major effect on the sector globally.”

By region, the strongest growth was registered in the Americas, which recorded an 8-percent growth in international tourist arrivals.

It was followed by Asia and the Pacific with 5 percent, and Europe with 4 percent.

Across the Asia Pacific, South Asia and Northeast Asia registered increase in arrivals of 8 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Growth in arrivals, however, slowed down in Southeast Asia to 2 percent.

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Also, data on expenditure on travels abroad for the first six to nine months of 2014 indicated that growth among the world’s top 10 source markets was highest in China at 16 percent.

It was followed by France with 10 percent), Italy with 8 percent, the United States with 6 percent, Brazil with 5 percent, and the Russian Federation with 4 percent.

For the full year 2014, international tourist arrivals are expected to increase by up to 4.5 percent, slightly above the World Tourism Organization’s long-term forecast of 3.8 percent a year.

The Philippines, on its part, expects tourist arrivals to reach 6 million this year and 10 million by 2016.

A previous report made by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) showed that the contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the Philippine economy could increase by 3.8 percent to P490.2 billion in 2014.

Last year, travel and tourism contributed P472.3 billion to the economy. It was equivalent to 4.2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Capital investments in the travel and tourism sector are expected to increase by 3.8 percent in 2014, from the P81.3 billion recorded last year.

Also, an increase of 3.9 percent is expected year-on-year over the next decade to P123.9 billion by 2024, the report showed.

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TAGS: Business, economy, News, United Nations, World Tourism Organization
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