|Global tourism soaring despite financial crisis|
|Thursday, 31 January 2008|
Agence France-Presse . Madrid
Global tourism rose more than six percent in 2007 and confidence remains high for this year despite the financial crises and high oil prices, the UN World Tourism Organisation said on Tuesday.
In its annual report, the Madrid-based body said the Middle East recorded the largest increase, 13 percent, followed by the Asia-Pacific region, with 10 percent and Africa, eight percent.
'The year 2007 exceeded expectations for international tourism with arrivals reaching new record figures' of 898 million, up 52 million, or 6.2 per cent, over 2006, the UNWTO said.
'Economic and tourism growth are driven by emerging markets and developing economies,' said UNWTO Secretary General Francesco Frangialli. 'While mature markets remain the leading destinations in the world, the faster growth rate of new markets confirms the UNWTO's main message of tourism's potential for the developing world.'
All regions registered increases. The Middle East totalled 46 million international tourist arrivals, up by five million, 'and continues to be one of the tourism success stories of the decade so far, despite ongoing tensions and threats,' a UNWTO statement said.
'The region is emerging as a strong destination with visitor numbers climbing much faster than the world total, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt among the leading destinations in growth in 2007.'
Asia and the Pacific saw tourist arrivals increase by 17 million to 185 million, led by Malaysia, up 20 per cent, Cambodia 19 per cent, and Vietnam 16 per cent and Indonesia 15 per cent.
Japan, where arrivals increased 14 per cent, has also 'taken off as a destination.' 'For 2006, confidence remains high, although this perception might deteriorate,' the statement said.
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