According to the World Bank assessments, tourism today is the largest and most intensively developing world industry.
The World Tourism Organisation announced its conclusion that 2006 was a peak year for world tourism. Numbers of tourists visiting other countries increased by 4.5% against the year 2005 and amounted to 842 million persons. The greatest influx of tourists occurred in South Asia as compared with 2005, their number increased by 10%. India is the most attractive country for foreign tourists. A notable growth of 8.1% was recorded in Africa . Most foreign tourists visited SAR, Kenya , and Morocco . In Asian-Pacific countries tourist numbers increased by 7.6% and in Europe by 4%. The leader here was Germany where the World Football Cup was held. Traditionally, many tourists visited Italy and Spain . A similar result was attained by the Middle East tourist industry. In 2006, international tourism to countries of South and North America showed only a 2% growth. Such low indices are due to reduced numbers of tourists to visit Canada and Mexico .
While there were about 700 million tourists in 2000 and 842 million in 2006, their numbers will grow to reach 1.6 billion by the year 2020. In 2000, an event of significance took place. At that point in time, the share of tourism and travel industry amounted to 11% of the global export of commodities and services. Thus, tourism outstripped international foodstuffs, textile, and chemicals trade volumes.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council data, current share of tourism and tourism-related industries is 8.3% of global jobs, 9.3% of international investments, 12% of exports, and 3.6% of world GDP . Tourists account for 10.2% of the total world consumer expense. In 2005, due to accommodating tourists, world countries earned $680 billion. This indicator was $481 billion in 2000 and $270 billion in 1990.
A typical tourist visiting Europe yielded to local economy a profit of $790 (this indicator for East European countries and for European republics of the former USSR is $370). In case of North America ( USA and Canada ), profit per tourist is $1190; for Asia it is $890, for Africa $590, and for Middle East it is $710.
Almost 80% of international tourists come from European and North American countries. East Asia , Australia , and New Zealand furnish about 15% of all tourists.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, in 2005 (most recent available data, 2006 statistics are preliminary) the greatest numbers of tourists were hosted by France ($76 million), Spain ($55.6 million), USA ($49.4 million), China ($46.8 million), Italy ($36.5 million), UK ($30 million), Mexico ($21.9 million), Germany ($21.5 million), Turkey ($20.3 million), and Austria ($19.9 million). Over these recent years, a notable increase was recorded in the numbers of tourists visiting Middle East , Asian, and African countries.
The list of countries to have derived most profit from hosting tourists looks somewhat different. Bearing the bell here are USA ($81.7 billion), Spain ($47.9 billion), France ($42.2 billion), Italy ($35.4 billion), UK ($30.7 billion), China ($29.3 billion), Germany ($29.2 billion), Turkey ($13.2 billion), Austria ($15.5 billion), and Greece ($13.7 billion). Just for comparison, Russia earned around $5.5 billion and Ukraine $3.1 billion.
In identifying what tourist centres are the leading ones in international tourism, at least two indicators should be assessed. In placements based on the two major tourist indicators international tourist arrivals and profits from international tourism in both ratings (in different sequences, though) nine of the ten leading tourist entrees are represented. USA ranks first in profits although third in arrivals.
France is Number One for arrivals but Number Three in revenues whereas Spain ranks second in either rating. The differences between these ratings can be explained by the fact that each tourist centre bears peculiarities of its own in terms of lengths of visitors' stays and visitors' profiles, expenditure levels, costs of living, and amounts of revenues derived from one-day visitors and cruise passengers, etc. France , for instance, is surrounded by a multitude of major European states providing great numbers of outbound tourists. She therefore attracts large numbers of short-stay tourists. Sojourns of international visitors in larger-size United States are, as a rule, way more long-lasting.
Half of international tourists go to foreign counties for holiday rest, 25% go to see friends and relatives, for medical treatment and for religious purposes (for instance, within the limits of pilgrimage), and 16% go on business trips. Travel purposes of the remaining 8% are not known.
45% of international tourists use air transport to arrive to destination countries, 43% automobile transport, 7% waterway transport, and 5% railway transport. In recent years, the airplane has been gaining an ever growing popularity.
Most liberal money-spenders are tourists from Germany (in 2005 they spent $72.7 billion), USA ($69.2 billion), UK ($59.6 billion), Japan ($37.5 billion), France ($31.2 billion), Italy ($22.4 billion), China ($21.8 billion), Canada ($18.4 billion), Russia ($17.8 billion), and the Netherlands ($16.2 billion).
According to the International Labour Organisation, the longest vacations are enjoyed by citizens of Italy (42 days on the average), France (37), Germany (35), Brazil (34), UK (28), and Canada (26). In South Korea and Japan the average vacation length is 25 days. In USA , it is 13 days. According to the Worldwatch Institute survey, approximately 3.5% of greenhouse gases emissions are stipulated by the tourism industry. Each year about 5,000 hectares of land (which equals half square area of Paris ) are converted into golf courses. Tourism is capable of generating revenue; however it is at the same time the cause of destruction of such unique nature zones as coral riffs.
Paradoxically so, but residents and businesses of tourist centres get no more than 10-15% of money spent by tourists here. The rest goes to transport companies, alien (including foreign) tourist agencies, foodstuffs and consumer goods suppliers, telecommunications companies, etc. This phenomenon is known under the name of leakage.
According to the Economic Policy Institute World, as of the year 2001, Swiss are entitled to have 32 working days of rest; Dens, French, Austrians, and Spaniards 30; Irish 28; Japanese and Portuguese 27; Dutch 25; Belgians 24; Norwegians 21; and Germans 18. Average statistical vacation of an average American will last 14 days.
Hewitt Associates, a consulting company, offer somewhat different data. According to those, the longest vacation period is in Denmark (31 days), Austria and Finland follow thereafter (25 each), Germany (24), Belgium , Ireland , the Netherlands , Switzerland , and UK (20 each). Vacation period in Brazil lasts 22 days, in Australia 20, and in Columbia and New Zealand 15 each. Mexico is the worst case 6 days.
Survey by Expedia.com. Portal produced yet other results: the average vacation period in France lasts 36 days, in Spain 30, in Germany 26, and in UK 24.