World tourist numbers pass billion—UN body


Backpackers in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia Photo by Don Lejano/

MADRID—The number of tourists in the world this year will pass the one-billion mark despite the economic crisis, the head of the World Tourism Organization said Wednesday.

“The need to travel is defying economic difficulties,” the Madrid-based UN body’s Secretary General Taleb Rifai told AFP.

The number of people making tourist trips in 2012 is set to record a rise of three percent compared to 2011 in recession-bound Europe, seven percent in Asia and four percent worldwide, he said.

“When you have one billion international travellers, it’s one out of six people of the world that cross borders,” he said.

“If you add to that about five billion more travellers within their national boundaries… there is almost one trip per year for every citizen of this world that is done under the definition of being a tourist.”

That indicated a strong recovery compared to 2009, when world tourism declined 3.8 percent at the height of the financial crisis, though the rise has stopped accelerating after growth of 6.6 percent in 2010.

He said his organization forecasts that by 2030 the number of tourists worldwide would reach 1.8 billion.

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  • imongredneck

    This could also mean people moving around looking for job.

  • delpillar

    Most of the tourists (specially Japanese) I asked, including myself, have ONLY TWO WISHES for travelling.

    NO.1 we valued is SAFETY.

    NO.2 is Toilet.
    In Japan, 70% of household toilets are automated with sprinkler, heated seat, hot and cold water for the sprinkler and a customized flow of water for the cleaning of the A S S and for the cleaning of the *** of the women, ….  I mean  BIDET. Most train stations and public toilets has one unit of this automated toilet system. 100% of department stores and hotels have this automated toilet. It is shocking for the Japanese to go to the Philippines outside the hotel when the comfort rooms do not even give any comfort at all.

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