UNWTO: Record in International Tourist Arrivals in 2006

MADRID, 29.1.2007.

Preliminary results for the full year of 2006 confirm that tourism demand has again been highly resilient since the industry continues to enjoy an above average growth in international tourist arrivals of around 4.5%, i.e. total of 842 million tourist arrivals.

According to data presented by the UN agency situated in Madrid, the highest growth in tourist arrivals was registered in Africa - by 8.1 %, thanks to many tourists who are avoiding other international destinations due to the threat of terrorism.

 “Although there is no such tourist destination entirely immune to the danger of terrorism attacks, many regard the sub-Saharan region of Africa to be very far away from current zones of tension and turmoil”, concludes the UN agency.

Africa is offering its guests an authentic experience thanks to the wild animals and all its natural beauty, the report further explains.

As opposed to the African continent, the UNWTO findings show that the lowest growth in tourist arrivals was registered in North and South America – by 2%.  That percentage is mostly the result of stagnating figures in North America.

After a mild set-back in 2003 – by 1.2%, global tourism started to recover during the following year by registering a 10% growth in the number of tourists.

For the current year, UNWTO’s forecast stands by a 4% increase in tourist arrivals.