World tourism up despite security fears

30 January 2007 by
World tourism up despite security fears

World tourism broke all records in 2006 despite fears over terrorism, bird flu and rising oil prices, official figures have revealed.

A total of 842m international tourist arrivals were recorded last year, an increase of 4.5%, according to the World Tourism Organisation (WTO).

That followed a 5.5% jump in 2005. But such strong growth figures are expected to slip in the future, the UN's tourism agency said, citing possible energy tax increases imposed to fight global warming.

Rising interest rates in some countries, and the impact on household debt, could also take a toll, the report said.

Africa posted the biggest growth rate in 2006 at 8.1%. Europe and the Middle East both posted growth rates of 4%, while Asia and the Pacific saw an increase of 7.6%.

The region with the weakest growth was the Americas - just 2% - due mainly to stagnation in arrivals in North America, the WTO said.

However, the US remained the world's top tourism destination by revenue, followed by France and Spain.

by Daniel Thomas

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