Madrid: Global tourism soared to a record performance in 2007, led by emerging markets, and the outlook remains good despite financial crises and high oil prices, the UN World Tourism Organization said today.
India saw a 13% rise in arrivals, it said. “The year 2007 exceeded expectations for international tourism with arrivals reaching new record figures” of 898 million, up 52 million, or 6.2%, over 2006, the Madrid-based body said.
It said the performance was based on the sustained economic growth of recent years and the sector’s resilience to external factors.
The Middle East recorded the largest percentage increase, surging 13% to 46 million arrivals, followed by the Asia-Pacific region, with 10%, and Africa, 8%, the UNWTO said in its annual report.
The Middle East “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.”
The Asia-Pacific region saw tourist arrivals increase by 17 million to 185 million, on the basis of strong economic growth since 2000. Malaysia, up 20%, Cambodia (19%), Vietnam (16%) and Indonesia (15%) registered the biggest jumps.
Japan, where arrivals increased 14%, has also “taken off as a destination,” while India saw a 13% rise.