The Great Recession that started in 2008 due to some unscrupulous American banks, bankers and lax government regulations dealt a serious setback to economic development of Western Europe and North America.
The only economic segment that suffered least was tourism, and in 2013 for the fist nine months for which statistics are available, international tourist arrivals increased by five per cent totalling 845 million. This number includes arrivals of migrant workers in their home countries.
Economists calculate that every tourist dollar spent in the host country generates $ 4.00 in local economic activity.
European, Asian, and the Pacific Rim tourist arrivals increased by six per cent overall.
Europe, the most popular tourism continent, grew by sic per cent year over year. The growth between 2010 and 2012 was 2.7 per cent.
Of all the European countries, France attracts the most tourists, followed by Spain, England, Italy, and others.
The growth can be partially explained by significantly lower accommodation and moderate restaurant prices and Chinese governments tourism policies for outbound traffic.
In Asia and pacific Rim countries, the growth was six per cent, while south east Asia, mainly Thailand, India it was 12 per cent.
Modern, low air travel costs attract millions of Germans, Dutch, Belgian, Scandinavian, and English tourists to Thailand, Indian, Myanmar and now Vietnam. Thai tourism caters to many interests – cultural, culinary, nature loving, sex-seeking tourists.
In the Americas, growth was a moderate four per cent in North America, and three per cent in South America.
The African continent registered a five per cent international tourist arrival, whereas North African countries (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco) enjoyed six per cent increase.
Baring in mind that fewer tourists visited Egypt, Libya, and Algeria, the big gainers were Tunisia and Morocco mainly because of their warm winters months, low accommodation, and food prices.
The highest tourism earning countries are – U S A (up 11 per cent); Morocco (up 10 per cent); the United Kingdom (up 18 per cent); Thailand up 28 per cent); Hong Kong (up 21 per cent); Turkey (up 13 per cent); India (up 13 per cent); Japan (up 23 per cent); Greece (up 15 per cent) and Taiwan (up 12 per cent).