International tourist figures have surged by 5.2% to nearly half a billion people worldwide in the first half of 2013, exceeding the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation’s expectations.
The growth was higher than expected, with 494 million international tourists spending at least one night abroad in the first six months of this year.
As a result to the vigorous performance, the organisation said it was boosting its 2013 forecast. With the original growth percent being three-four% for the whole year, it now expected the increase to be at the higher end of the range.
Europe experienced a growth of 5.1% in international tourist numbers in the past 6 months as well as Asia and the Pacific have reported a growth of 6.2% including an 11.6% surge in tourists going to Southeast Asia.
The organisation went onto mention that in Africa, international tourist arrivals increased by 3.8% and in the Middle East, tourist numbers rose by 12.9% but these figures should be viewed with caution due to the uneven results and limited data.