KATHMANDU, Nepal- Global tourist traffic grew by 5 per cent, reaching almost half billion, with Asia-Pacific region registering the highest growth during the first half of 2013 from the same period last year, the World Tourism Organization has said.
According to the organization destinations around the world witnessed an estimated 500 million visitors in the first six months of 2013, representing an increase of 5 per cent or an additional 25 million international tourists compared to the same period of 2012.
Asia-Pacific region witnessed the highest growth of 6.0 per cent, boosted by the increase in arrivals to South-East Asia, up by 12 per cent, followed by Europe at 5.0 per cent despite the lingering economic difficulties, said the UN agency.
Africa saw 4.0 per cent growth while the results were weaker than anticipated in the Americas where the arrivals grew by 2 per cent, as South America and the Caribbean lagged behind.
Tourism experts said that the growth in arrivals reflects growing importance of tourism sector.
The rising number of tourists underlines the need to rightly place tourism as one of the key pillars of socio-economic development, being a leading contributor to economic growth, exports and jobs, they said.
Emerging economy destinations saw stronger growth of 6 per cent, 2 per cent more than that by advanced economies, a trend which has marked the sector for many years now, the agency said.
The agency said that in a still uneven global economic environment, results were positive in all regions and sub regions, though the overall picture was mixed.
The Middle East rebounded after two years of negative growth with an estimated increase in international arrivals of 13 per cent.
Emerging economy outbound markets continue to drive growth, it said, adding that China and Russia, which saw an increase of 31 per cent and 23 per cent respectively, led the growth in expenditure on travel abroad among the top ten most important source markets in the world.
Nepal also records increase in tourist arrivals
Amidst the global trend, the numbers of foreigners visiting Nepal in the month of July 2013, compared to the same month last year, have also increased by 0.28% to 38,560.
According to the figure released by Immigration Office, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on August, the arrivals from South Asian region have shown mixed performance with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka leaving increased record of 32.26% and 61.68% respectively.
Visitor arrivals from Asia (other than South Asia region) have recorded positive growth of 14.36% with China (17.91%), and Malaysia (77.10%), South Korea (0.90%) and Thailand (87.21%) showing positive growth.
From long-haul markets, Europe registered an overall positive growth of 6.59% . Arrivals from Italy, Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, and Russia have recorded positive growth of 54.35%, 22.32%, 3.45%, 27.32% and 62.62% respectively.
Likewise, arrivals from Canada and the United States of America also showed positive growth of 107.10% and 5.10% respectively. Australia posted positive growth of 32.58% while New Zealand showed decrease in arrival figure by 7.63%.