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‘Asia-Pacific region to control tourism growth’

The Asian region will continue to lead the global tourism growth in the coming years, with major emerging economies like China and India consolidating their position as the driving force behind it, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

PTI: Berlin, Mar 11 · 14/03/2011

“World tourism staged a remarkable recovery from the shock it suffered in 2008 and 2009 due to the global economic downturn and primarily the emerging Asian nations were the engine for the rebound,” the UNWTO said in its latest World Tourism Barometer published at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade show.

The UNWTO forecast that the global tourism is set to grow in 2011, even though at a more moderate pace than in the previous year, and emerging destinations, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, will continue to control the growth, “taking advantage of a far from exhausted demand from neighbouring countries’’.

The UN agency pointed out that mega sporting events like the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the Commonwealth Games in India last year also contributed to offset the negative effects of the economic downturn and displayed their extraordinary ability to promote and boost tourist arrivals in the emerging destinations.

International tourism recovered in 2010 at a faster pace than expected and a 6.7 increase in international tourist arrivals over the level of 2009 to 935 million tourists “more than offset the decline caused by the economic downturn. This also represented a growth of 22 million arrivals over the former peak year of 2008,” it said.

“Even though the vast majority of destinations worldwide reported positive and often double-digit growth, the emerging economies, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, achieved the best results.”

“The Asia-Pacific region, which was the first to recover from the global tourism decline, recorded 13 per cent growth in international arrivals and hit a new record of 204 million tourists in 2010, much more than enough to make up for the two per cent drop in 2009, the tourism agency said.

The UNWTO said that a double-digit growth was a common result for destinations in this region and with 23 million additional visits in 2010, the region has secured a 22 per cent share of the international tourism market.