LONDON -- Global
tourism surpassed industry expectations in the first eight months
of the year, as worldwide arrivals grew 12% to 526 million,
according to World Travel Markets annual global travel report.
international arrivals have surged in 2004, visitor spending has
remained flat, according to Rolf Freitag, president and CEO of IPK
International, one of several consultancies and tourism groups
contributing data to the report.
While the report
forecasts an 8% rise in international tourism arrivals for the full
year and a 4%-5%% increase in 2005, the lag in spending is expected
to persist. The report cited the trend toward shorter and more
frequent trips, fuelled in part by the growth of low cost
in a panel discussion on the report was Dawid de Villiers, deputy
secretary general of the World Tourism Organization, who predicted
a 10% boost in global arrivals in 2004, fueled in part by the
availability of low cost travel. WTO expects this year to end with
double-digit growth, marking the first time since the last major
oil crisis 20 years ago, said de Villiers.
Meanwhile, the WTM
report states that the biggest challenge foreign destinations face
in tapping the U.S. market is that 80% of the population does not
Franklin, executive director, European Travel Commission, predicted
the U.S. market will remain the number one market for Europe in
2005. The US public is travelling like never before, said Franklin,
citing a 15% increase in arrivals in European cities for the first
half of the year.
Within Europe, the
strongest destinations in the first eight months of 2004 were Spain
and Russia, each with 10% growth over the same period a year
earlier. Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Italy recorded
increases between 6% and 10%, while France, Germany and the U.K.
rose between to 2% and 5%. Switzerland and Austria saw modest
Elsewhere in the
world, 2004 tourism levels portend a positive sign for regions
battered by the events of the previous year.
Rebounding from a
depressed 2003, the Asia Pacific region recorded the most growth
this year, up 37% to 99 million international arrivals. In the
Middle East, arrivals were up by nearly a quarter to 23 million
visitors. Arrivals to Africa rose by 9% to two million.
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