World tourism flows in 2009

In 2009, 880 million international tourist arrivals were recorded internationally, which is 39 million less than the arrivals recorded in 2008, i.e. a decrease of 4.3 %.

This decrease is due to the negative results of the first 3 quarters of 2009 (-10%, -7% and -2% respectively), while a slight improvement was noted in the last quarter (+2%) in relation to the respective period in 2008.

Development was negative for 14 consecutive months from September 2008. Asia and the Middle East were the regions that recorded the greatest recovery with positive results for the 2nd half of 2009. The fist half of the year was difficult for all destinations, Europe in particular (‑10%).

For the year as a whole, all regions recorded a decrease except for Africa, where the number of international tourist arrivals increased by 3%. The worst results were recorded in Europe (-5.6%), the Middle East (-5.4%) and America (-4.7%).

(Source: UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, April 2010)

Forecasts for 2010

The WTO foresees that the recovery of global tourism will be achieved at much faster rates than initially expected. Positive growth (3.1%) in 2010 is expected globally, with the emerging economies performing even better (+5.1%), while growth in developed countries will be about +1.3%. The economic crisis, the reduction in the number of jobs and the hard fiscal measures are barriers that global tourism will have to confront.

Tourism in Asia is expected to continue its dynamic recovery while recovery in Europe and America is occurring at slower rates. Positive growth data are also noted in the Middle East, while Africa continues on a steady upward trend, which is expected to be supported by the Football World Cup in South Africa.

(Source: UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, January 2010)