Africa leads growth in tourist arrivals
Arrivals in the continent were 10 percent stronger in 2005, spurred by massive growth in Sub-Saharan countries that went up 13 percent. International tourist arrivals recorded globally increased by 5 percent to 808 million last year, says the WTO, exceeding the 800-million mark for the first time ever. This was despite various terrorist attacks and natural disasters such as the Asian Tsunami. Underpinning the growth was a 26 percent growth in Kenya; 37 percent for Mozambique; South Africa 11 percent while the Seychelles and Mauritius achieved growth rates of 7 percent and 6 percent respectively. WTO says in North Africa growth continued, but at a more moderate pace with Tunisia recording an increase of 8 percent and Morocco 5 percent. Growth in Asia and the Pacific averaged 7 percent last year following an exceptional post-SARS rebound in 2004. North-East Asia, which recorded a 10 percent growth emerged as the most dynamic sub-region with the strongest performers being Taiwan up 15 percent; China 13 percent and Japan pushing up 9 percent. South-East Asia and South Asia both recorded a growth rate of 4 percent. However, arrivals in Tsunami affected areas went down significantly. In Indonesia arrivals dropped 9 percent while Sri Linka lost 0,4 percent. Although overall data to June shows a 6 percent decline for Thailand, arrivals at the Bangkok airport registered 4 percent growth in the period through to October 2005. In the Americas, growth reached 6 percent with North America recording 4 percent and the Caribbean 5 percent, slightly below the regional average. The United States recorded a growth rate of 8 percent similarly with Mexico while Cuba grew by 13 percent despite having suffered the impact of last year’s devastating hurricanes. Europe recorded relatively modest growth of 4 percent, which is still one percentage point above the long-term trend of the region.