Global Tourism Prospects and Trends

Tourism is an important force to reduce poverty and foster global solidarity (photo courtesy of

According to a new forecast put out by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO),

The World Tourism Organization Building in Madrid

international tourism is set to reach a staggering 1.8 billion by 2030 – growing at a more moderate yet sustained pace than past decades with the number of international tourist arrivals increasing globally by around 3.3% each year.

UNWTO encourages the implementation ‎of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, with a view to ensuring that member ‎countries, tourist destinations and businesses maximize the positive economic, ‎social and cultural effects of tourism and fully reap its benefits, while minimizing its ‎negative social and environmental impacts.

By the numbers, this will add an over 40 million tourists (and their dollars) to the tourism economy every single year. In absolute terms, the emerging economies of Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Eastern Mediterranean Europe, the Middle East, and Africa will gain an average 30 million arrivals a year, compared to 14 million in the traditional destinations of the advanced economies of North America, Europe and Asia, and the Pacific.

By 2015, emerging economies will receive more international tourist arrivals than advanced economies, and by 2030 their share is expected to reach 58%.

According to the UN Steering Committee on Tourism for Development (UNSCTD), tourism spending contributed $10 billion to the world’s least developed countries in 2010 alone; while nearly 17 million travelers sought out new and unique international destinations. These numbers are a drastic shift from a decade prior, where the numbers came in at $3 billion and and 6 million travelers, respectively.

One innovative world tourism project was featured by Terracurve in 2010. Back then,, an organization specializing in tourism promotion and cultural awareness projects for developing and post-conflict nations, started conducting tourism promotion projects with the support of US tourism agencies and ministries from around the world.

Explains Andrew Princz, cultural navigator, “With the support of international governments, we have brought the stories of disparate cultures of the world.” “Given the global economic models of today, we are confident that corporations will acknowledge the need to more deeply understand the cultures in the countries in which they are all doing business.”

For ten years, has spearheaded the concept of cultural navigation, whereby authors are encouraged to partner with and participate more closely and take an active interest in the realities faced by the peoples and cultures that they visit.

The site has conducted cross-cultural missions involving tourism promotion and cultural awareness campaigns taking its members to over two dozen nations including Angola, Kazakhstan, India, Peru, Cuba and Samoa. The site combines a bit of National Geographic with a bit of UNESCO and throws in a touch of Hollywood for good measure.

The fundraising campaign looks to benevolent financial sponsorship for specific projects. Corporations and individuals are offered multi-tiered levels of support targeted at the implementation of website improvements, content production, the launch of branded products, the development of a charity arm, and a web-based TV series.

Contributor levels range from the Backpacker supporter for those contributing less than US$100, to the Royal Sponsor for backers of over US$25,000.

The project most likely was halted when Andrew Princz passed away in June 2011. is kept online in his memory.

David Scowsill, President & CEO of World Travel & Tourism Council comes up with another set of stunning figures, “Travel and Tourism accounts for 258 million jobs globally. At US$6 trillion (9.1% of GDP) the sector is a key driver for investment and economic growth and at a global level. It is larger than the automotive industry at 8% GDP, and just smaller than banking at 11%.”

According to Wikipedia, the following countries are Non-members of the World Tourism

Egypt uses the Arab Spring events to attract more tourists and lure the ones that were scared of by the same events, at the 2011 ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show (photo courtesy of

Organization: Suriname, Guyana, United States, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Grenada, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Liberia, Somalia, Comoros, Ireland, Iceland, United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Estonia, United Arab Emirates, Myanmar, Singapore, New Zealand, Palau, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Nauru, Niue, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga and the rest of states with limited recognition.

The most significant change among the top ten destinations by international arrivals in 2010 was the rise of China to third position, according to the 2011 UNWTO Tourism Highlights Edition, released last June. China ousted Spain for third place, and has overtaken both the United Kingdom and Italy during the past few years. In terms of receipts, China (+15%) also moved up the ranking to fourth position, overtaking Italy (+1%).


China travel boom helps global tourism income generated by inbound visits near US$3 billion a day mark (photo courtesy of

China also moved into third place in the top ten ranking by international tourism spenders, with an expenditure of US$ 55 billion, overtaking the United Kingdom (US$ 49 billion). China has shown by far the fastest growth with regard to expenditure on international tourism in the last decade, multiplying expenditure four times since 2000, the UNWTO report says. Ranking as the seventh biggest source market in 2005, it has since overtaken Italy, Japan, France and the United Kingdom.

Other key global tourism trends in 2010:

  • International tourist arrivals reached 940 million and tourism receipts generated US$ 919 billion
  • Travel for leisure, recreation and holidays accounted for just over half of all international tourist arrivals
  • Slightly over half of all travellers arrived at their destination by air
  • France maintained its position as the world’s number one tourism destination.

As an internationally traded service, inbound tourism has become one of the world’s major trade categories. The overall export income generated by inbound tourism, including passenger transport, exceeded US$ 1 trillion in 2010, or close to US$ 3 billion a day. Tourism exports account for as much as 30% of the world’s exports of commercial services and 6% of overall exports of goods and services. Globally, as an export category, tourism ranks fourth after fuels, chemicals and automotive products.

The large majority of international travel takes place within the traveller’s own region, with about four out of five worldwide arrivals originating from the same region.

The total tourist arrivals by region shows that, by 2020, the top three receiving regions will be Europe (717 million tourists), East Asia (397 million) and the Americas (282 million), followed by Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Every year on September 27, we celebrate the World Tourism Day. This serves to raise awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and the contributions it can make in the economic, political and social sectors, and how it can help towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Keep an eye on UNWTO World Tourism Barometer

Download ITB World Travel Trends Report 2011-2012


3 thoughts on “Global Tourism Prospects and Trends”

  1. The local effects are supposed to be more evident i.e. for Ukraine this year enjoying staging of UEFA EURO 2012. There are so many possibities to co-operate through tourism and other public activities to benefit the general wealth of the nation. It has also fruitfull outcome from the point of view of new generation education.

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