According to the UN World Tourism Organization one billion tourists travelled in 2012, meaning one out of seven people completed an overseas trip this year. Some five to six billion people are estimated to have travelled in their own countries.
On December 13, the UNWTO published an infographic showing the origins and destinations of the one billion tourists this year. By compiling global travel data including international airport traffic and visa records, the WTTC, a London-based council, calculated that the billionth tourist crossed an international boundary on December 13.
Where do the one billion tourists come from?
According to the UNWTO, 53% of the tourists this year came from Europe, while 225 came from the Asian and Pacific region and 17% from the Americas.
Europe was the main destination, receiving 51% of the tourists, followed by Asia/Pacific, which got 22% of visits. The Americas received 16%, the Middle East 6% and Africa 5%.
This year the main reason for traveling was leisure (51%) followed by visiting family and friends (27%) and business/professional (15%). Seven per cent of the trips were made for unspecified reasons.
Experts agree that the reasons for the upswing range from prosperity in growing economies such as China and Brazil to a perception of a safer world.