UNWTO: European tourism grows above expectations

International tourist arrivals grew by 4.5% in the first eight months of 2011 to a total of 671 million (29 million more than in the same period of 2010).Contrary to the trend in recent years, growth in arrivals during the first eight months of 2011 was higher in advanced economies (+4.9%) than in emerging ones (+4.0%), due largely to the particularly strong results of Europe (+6%). In Northern Europe (+7%) and Central and Eastern Europe (+8%), recovery from the 2009 decline, which began in 2010, gained momentum this year. The same is true for some Southern European destinations (+8%), which this year also benefited from the shift of travel away from Middle East (-9%) and North Africa (-15%). Contrasting with growing economic uncertainty, European Union destinations (+6%) benefited strongly from this growth, bringing some relief for those destinations facing major economic challenges such as Greece (+14%), Ireland (+13%), Portugal (+11%) or Spain (+8%).Source: UNWTO press realease 11087 of Nov. 8, 2011World Tourism Performance 2011 and Outlook 2012 available in pdf here>>.

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