According to the latest UNWTO Worldwide Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals grew by five percent in the first half of 2013 over last year's numbers. That's a higher-than-expected increase. It also adds up to nearly half a billion visitors traveling to destinations around the world.
Regions showing the biggest gains include Southeast Asia and South Asia; Central and Eastern Europe, along with Southern and Mediterranean Europe.
Increases in tourism expenditures were led by China and Russia, rising at a whopping 31 and 22 percent, respectively.
Overall, the UNWTO predicts 2013 will wind up with a four percent growth rate over last year, still above projections. That's reason for those of us in the tourism business to think more strategically than ever. I'll be posting several articles with tips from the experts about how to harness the tourism trends and other data in the Barometer.
In the meantime, let's be grateful to work in such a dynamic and welcoming industry! In an era when other professions are going through consolidations, layoffs and cut-backs, tourism is stronger than ever.
Photo Courtesy Strategic Travel Media