Tourism Spikes Worldwide

Europe sees boost as Middle East, North Africa lose travelers
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2012 6:59 PM CST
Tourism Spikes Worldwide
A tourist poses in front of the Eiffel tower on August 2, 2010 in Paris.   (Getty Images)

The economic crisis, Japanese disasters, and the Arab Spring couldn't stop tourists from globetrotting last year, AFP reports. European tourism surged the most—6% higher than in 2010—helping to fuel an international rise of 4.4% that clocked 980 million travelers, according to a UN report. But tourists did lose interest in the Middle East (down 8%), North Africa (down 12%), and Japan (down 13%).

Last year was unusual, the report said, because advanced economies saw greater tourist growth (5%) than emerging ones (3.7%). International tourism will likely keep growing this year, at a slower rate of 3% to 4%, and top the one billion mark by New Year's. Asia and Africa will probably see the greatest surge, of 4% to 6%. The overall rise is "encouraging," a UN official says, coming when "we urgently need levers to stimulate growth and job creation." (More tourism stories.)

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