Global tourism revenues set record in 2012

Tourists from Asia exploring Hallstatt, Austria.

Travel and tourism a key driver in world economy

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The global tourism economy hummed along at a record pace in 2012, growing by 4 percent and generating a total of $1.3 trillion when international passenger transit revenues are included in the equation.

“It is encouraging to see that the growth in international tourist arrivals was equalled by a comparable increase in spending in spite of continued economic challenges,” said United Nations World Tourism Organization secretary-general Taleb Rifai. “Considering that tourism is a key export for many economies around the world, this result is good news as it provides foreign reserves to destinations, and contributes to job creation in tourism as well as in related economic sectors,” he added.

By regions, the Americas recorded the largest increase in receipts, plus 7 percent, followed by Asia and the Pacific ( plus 6 percent), Africa ( plus 5 percent) and Europe (plus 2 percent). Receipts in the Middle East were down about 2 percent but improving compared to the double-digit decline recorded in 2011.

In absolute values, Europe saw $457 billion in tourism earnings,equivalent to 43 percent of the world’s total tourism receipts, the largest share by region. Destinations in Asia and the Pacific ($ 323 billion) account for 30 percent of international tourism receipts and the Americas ($215 billion) for 20 percent. In the Middle East (4 percent share) total tourism receipts reached US$ 47 billion and in Africa (3 percent share) $ 34 billion.

International tourism (travel and passenger transport) accounts for 30 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.

The top 10 ranking of destinations by receipts remained virtually unchanged in 2012, with the United States, Spain, France, China and Italy leading, followed by Macau (China), Germany, United Kingdom, Hong Kong (China) and Australia.

A number of the more mature destinations among the world’s top 10 earners showed remarkable results: the United States ( up 11 percent), France (plus 7 percent), Germany (plus 6 percent), the United Kingdom (up 5 percent) and Hong Kong (China) ( up14 percent). Other advanced economy destinations with growth rates of 10 percent or above include Sweden (17 percent), Japan (33 percent), the Republic of Korea (14 percent) and Finland (16 percent).

Among the emerging economy destinations highest receipts growth was reported by Thailand ( up 25 percent), India (22 percent), Poland (13 percent), South Africa (18 percent), Egypt (14 percent), Vietnam (18 percent) and Ukraine (13 percent).


UNWTO World Tourism Barometer

Table 1: International Tourism by (Sub)Region

Table 2: International Tourism Receipts – Top 50 destinations (US$ billion)

Table 3: Top 10 destinations International Tourism Receipts (1995-2012)


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