More than one billion tourists will take a trip this year crossing an international boundary, a threshold never before reached, UN officials told a meeting tourism ministers gathering in Mexico this week.
We will have more than a billion tourists: that means one-seventh of humanity. This has never happened in history, said Taleb Rifai, head of the UN World Tourism Organization speaking to tourism ministers from the G20 countries.
The number of international tourist arrivals is expected to rise in 2012 by 3.0-4.0 percent, reaching the historic one billion mark by the end of the year, according to WTO figures, rising from some 980 million tourist arrivals recorded in 2011.
International tourism grew by 5.7% in the first two months of 2012, the agency said, surpassing 131 million in January and February, up from 124 million in the same period last year.
The ministerial meeting, in the resort town of Merida in Mexico's Yucatan, continues focusing on strategies to combat barriers to the free movement of tourists around the world
This week’s meeting is the fourth Ministerial Meeting of Tourism (T20), and its agenda included a focus on combating barriers to the free movement of tourists around the world. Delegates attended it from Germany, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, South Korea, United States, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, UK, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and the European Union.
Other contributors to the meeting included the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).