Caribbean tourism rose last year

The Caribbean region is performing better than 2010 and 2011, with a 4 per cent improvement posted for last year.

This mirrors the 4 per cent growth noted as a worldwide trend, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s World Tourism Barometer, which was released 29 January.

Total tourism figures in 2012 were slightly more than one billion people. Emerging economies, read the document, were up by 4.1 per cent with Asia and the Pacific strongest performers. Growth is expected to be 3 to 4 per cent for 2013 in line with the UN’s long-term forecast.

“2012 saw continued economic volatility around the globe, particularly in the Eurozone. Yet international tourism managed to stay on course,” said the organisation’s Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

“The sector has shown its capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions and, although at a slightly more modest rate, is expected to continue expanding in 2013. Tourism is thus one of the pillars that should be supported by governments around the world as part of the solution to stimulating economic growth,” he added.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization forecasts international tourist arrivals to increase by 3 per cent to 4 per cent in 2013, much in line with its long term forecast for 2030, which is plus 3.8 per cent a year on average between 2010 and 2020. This outlook is confirmed by the body’s Confidence Index. Compiled among more than 300 experts worldwide, the index shows that prospects for 2013 are similar to the evaluation of last year (124 points for 2013 against 122 for 2012).

By region, prospects for 2013 are stronger for Asia and the Pacific (up between 5 and 6 per cent), followed by Africa (up between 4 and 6 per cent), the Americas (up between 3 and 4 per cent), Europe (up between 2 and 3 per cent) and the Middle East (between 0 and 5 per cent).

The Americas (4 per cent) saw an increase of six million arrivals, reaching 162 million in total. Leading the growth were destinations in Central America (6 per cent), while South America, up by 4 per cent, showed some slowdown as compared to the double-digit growth of 2010 and 2011. The Caribbean (4 per cent), on the other hand, is performing above the previous two years, while North America (3 per cent) consolidated its 2011 growth, the document indicated.

Available data on international tourism receipts and expenditure for 2012 covering at least the first nine months of the year confirmed the positive trend in arrivals.

Although the highest growth rates in expenditure abroad among the ten top markets came from emerging economies – China (up 42 per cent) and Russia (up 31 per cent) – important traditional source markets, showed particularly good results. In Europe, and despite economic pressures, expenditure on international tourism by Germany held at a 3 per cent increase, while the United Kingdom (5 per cent) returned to growth after two flat years. In the Americas, both the United States and Canada grew at 7 per cent.

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