Oil price slide to boost tourism, global economy: UNWTO

The decline of oil prices, not seen since 2009, will lower transport costs and boost economic growth in 2015. The growth of international tourism is expected to be stronger in Asia & Pacific and the Americas. According to the UNWTO report for the year 2014, the number of international tourists (overnight visitors) reached 1,138 million, which is 50 million more and 4.7% rise over 2013.

By Sai Nikesh D

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), in its latest report announced that the international tourism, with a growth of about 3% to 4%, will contribute to the global economic recovery in 2015.

According to a region-wise positive outlook for 2015 (confirmed by UNWTO Confidence Index), the growth is expected to be stronger in Asia & Pacific and the Americas, both above 4% to 5%, followed by Europe (above 3% to 4%), Africa (above 3% to 5%) and the Middle East (above 2% to 5%).

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai says, “The decline of oil prices, not seen since 2009, will lower transport costs and boost economic growth in 2015, by lifting purchasing power and private demand in oil importing economies. Yet, it could also negatively impact some of the oil exporting countries which have emerged as strong tourism source markets.”

According to the UNWTO report for the year 2014, the number of international tourists (overnight visitors) reached 1,138 million, which is 50 million more and 4.7% rise over 2013.

The Americas with above 7% and Asia & the Pacific with above 5 % registered a strongest growth in 2014, followed by Europe and the Middle East which stood above 4 % and Africa that registered rise above 2%.

The Americas region, as a whole, welcomed an additional 13 million international tourists raising the total to 181 million in 2014. Europe, with over half of the world’s international tourists, saw an increase of 22 million arrivals in 2014, reaching a total of 588 million.

International arrivals in Asia & the Pacific registered a strongest growth with an increase of 263 million in 2014, consolidating the region’s growth trend of recent years.

By sub-region, North America with above 8% growth saw the best results, followed by North-East Asia, South Asia, Southern and Mediterranean Europe, Northern Europe and the Caribbean, all increasing by above 7%.

India, with above 7% rise led South Asia and the North-East Asia registered above 7% rise, where major destinations such as Japan and the Republic of Korea registered double-digit growth.

The recent statement by the Indian Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma on January 22, 2015, to make India top destination for international tourism, by aiming at a target of increasing 10 million tourist arrivals to India in the near future, gains importance in the light of the latest UNWTO report that emphasized on the stronger growth from Asia & the Pacific in 2015.

 

This article was published in The Dollar Business on January 30, 2015.

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