World’s Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2012
As luxury baby boomer travelers, we find annual tourism reports to be a valuable tool to help us discover new destinations for our bucket list.
It helps us to understand where the world’s travelers have been spending their hard earned paychecks. We can study year-to-year trends that might lead us to one destination over another. And, we can perhaps give consideration to a number of the emerging economy destinations that might otherwise not even appear in our radar.
Yesterday, the United Nations World Tourism Organization released its annual report on tourism receipts. Interestingly, in spite of sagging world economies, international tourism receipts hit a new record in 2012, reaching an estimated $1.1 trillion.
Did you know that Spain was the #2 travel destination in the world?
Let’s see what we can glean from the report:
- By regions, the Americas (+7%) recorded the largest increase in receipts, followed by Asia and the Pacific (+6%),Africa (+5%) and Europe (2%). Receipts in the Middle East were still down (-2%); yet report a steady improvement compared to the decline recorded in 2011.
In absolute values, Europe saw US$ 457 billion in tourism earnings (euro 356 bn) equivalent to 43% of the world’s total tourism receipts, the largest share by region. Destinations in Asia and the Pacific (US$ 323 billion or euro 251 bn) account for 30% of international tourism receipts and the Americas (US$ 215 billion or euro 167 bn) for 20%. In the Middle East (4% share) total tourism receipts reached US$ 47 billion (euro 36 bn) and in Africa (3% share) US$ 34 billion (euro 26 bn).
- The top 10 ranking of destinations by receipts remained virtually unchanged in 2012, with the United States, Spain, France, China and Italy leading, followed by Macau (China), Germany, United Kingdom, Hong Kong (China) and Australia.
- A number of the more mature destinations among the world’s top 10 earners showed remarkable results: the United States (+11%), France (+7%), Germany (+6%), the United Kingdom (+5%) and Hong Kong (China) (+14%). Other advanced economy destinations with growth rates of 10% or above include Sweden (+17%), Japan (+33%), the Republic of Korea (+14%) and Finland (+16%).
- Among the emerging economy destinations highest receipts growth was reported by Thailand (+25%), India (+22%), Poland (+13%), South Africa (+18%), Egypt (+14%), Vietnam (+18%) and Ukraine (+13%).
Thoughts from the report:
- The U.S. dominates the world travel scene with $128 billion in tourism receipts. The second closest is Spain with $55 billion. We all knew that the U.S. is a great place to travel. No surprise there.
- But, did you know that Spain was the #2 travel destination in the world? We didn’t until we visited Spain last fall. For a video highlight of our Spain trip, go here.
- While European countries dominate the world travel market by region (43%), their market share has softened with only 2% growth. This is made more evident with recent cruise ship company announcements shifting a percentage of their fleets away from the Mediterranean to growing Asian destinations. That, along with increasing air fares, might cause some softening of prices for European travel. Fingers crossed.
- Maybe it’s time for us to consider destinations away from the Western part of the world. Hong Kong has long been a major tourist destination, and Thailand and Vietnam are both seeing considerable growth from the emerging economy destinations category.
Interesting stuff. What thoughts come to your mind?
What do you think, if we planned a small group of boomers headed to Hong Kong, would you want to come along?
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