If recent reports from United Nations World Tourism Organization are any indication, spending on tourism around the world is on an increase as is reflected by a 4% growth in earnings from international tourism. The receipts from this sector reached a whopping $1075 billion in 2012. Nearly $219 billion were accounted by international passenger transport alone. If we add this figure to earnings from international tourism, the figure reaches $1.3 trillion.
Taleb Rafi, secretary general of UNWTO, expressed happiness over this trend of increasing tourism earnings as this is in spite of economic recession and hard financial times worldwide. Also, tourism is the most important revenue earner for many countries of the world. This augurs well for such economies as increased spending by tourists also led to creation of new jobs in tourist destinations.
If one were to look at this 4% increase in international tourism earnings area wise, it appears that Americas are still at the top, recording an increase of 7% in international tourism earnings with Asia being close behind with an increase of 6% in international tourism earnings. Africa and Europe occupy the next two slots in this breakup. Middle East is one region that still; recorded slowest growth in international tourism earnings. Surprisingly, Europe, despite being 4th in terms of increase in earnings, still tops the regions as far as total earnings are concerned. At $457 billion, Europe accounts for nearly 43% of the total earnings from exports around the world.
Talking about individual countries, US ranks number in earnings from international tourism followed by Spain, France, and China. The next few slots are occupied by Italy, China once again (Macau), Germany, UK, China once again (Hong Kong), and finally Australia. This list is enough to let the world know that China has shrugged off its lethargy as far as international tourism is concerned and ready to take on the might of the traditional tourist destinations around the world.
Today China is not only the second largest economy in the world after having overtaken Japan and the second larges military spender after Russia; it is also a giant in international tourism. Experts attribute the rising stature of China in global tourism to its growing middle class. There has been a steady increase in the income levels of middle class Chinese households leaving much higher disposable incomes than ever before.
If China was at number 7 in the world in terms of spending on international tourism, it has surprised the world moving on to the top spot with Chinese tourists collectively spending more than $102billion on international travel. This is much more than any other country making China number on in international tourism spending. It is interesting to note that the next two spots in international tourism spending are occupied by Germany and US with $84 billion expenditure by their citizens on international travel.
Chinese citizens can be seen in most tourist destinations around the world round the year these days. Many attribute this to an annual leave system designed to encourage tourism.