The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is reporting that international tourism revenues surpassed US$1 trillion in 2011. Writing recently in UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the UN agency finds that world tourism continues “to recover from the losses of crisis year 2009 and hit new records in most destinations.”
Recruiters who look to underlying tourism patterns for indicators of demand for international education will definitely be encouraged by the latest figures. Total global revenues were estimated at US$1,030 billion in 2011, up nearly 11% from the industry total of US$928 billion the year before. When adjusted for inflation and exchange rate fluctuations, real revenue growth year-over-year was 3.8%. International arrivals increased by just over 4% during the same period and totalled nearly 930 million in 2011.
The Americas recorded the largest revenue increase with a 5.7% gain, followed by Europe at 5.2%, Asia at 4.3%, and Africa with 2.2% growth over 2010. The Middle East was the only region posting negative growth, down 14% in 2011.
The UNWTO particularly cited the BRIC nations – key drivers of demand in global education markets – for their substantial growth in international tourism expenditures.
Many source markets generated strong demand in 2011. However, it was the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) that continued to stand out.
China’s expenditure on international tourism increased by US$18 billion to US$73 billion, the Russian Federation increased by US$6 billion to US$32 billion, Brazil by US$5 billion to US$21 billion, and India by US$3 billion to US$14 billion.
Together, their increases accounted for an additional US$32 billion, a value equivalent to the eighth largest source market by expenditure.
In terms of market share among major global regions, UNWTO notes that Europe is the world leader with a 45% share of global tourism, followed by Asia with 28%, and the Americas at 19%.
Of the advanced economy source markets, Germany, Australia, Norway, Belgium and Canada reported the biggest absolute growth. Destinations where international tourism receipts grew by US$ 5 billion or more in absolute terms include the United States, Spain, France, Thailand, and Hong Kong.