News / Asia

UN Tourism Chief: Asia Leads Global Tourism Recovery

The head of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Taleb Rifai, says global tourism is recovering, led by fast growth in Asia though tourism in Europe is still down.

Despite concerns of a wavering world economy, experts in the tourism industry say people across the globe are spending time and money on travel.

The U.N.'s World Tourism Organization predicts four percent growth in global tourism this year, in line with the industry's average growth over the past 15 years.

The secretary-general of the agency, Taleb Rifai, said Friday this shows that tourism has more or less recovered from the global financial crisis.

"We have just closed in on the results of the first four months of 2010 globally and we're up seven percent growth as compared to 2009," he said. "While 2009 was one of the worst years that we have ever seen in the last six decades, we were down four percent. So this rebound has been stronger and faster than we thought. And, the important thing also is that this recovery is being basically driven and led by Asia."

Rifai says international tourism arrivals to Asia from January to April were up 12 percent while the world average was seven percent.

While tourism in Asia is climbing back to normal, in Europe there is almost no growth.

Rifai says large public deficits are tempting governments to impose taxes that discourage tourists from choosing European vacations.

The U.N. tourism chief Friday visited Bangkok's Ratchaprasong shopping and hotel district.

The upscale shopping area is still recovering from weeks of occupation by thousands of anti-government protesters. The military pushed out the demonstrators in May.

The demonstration forced businesses in the area to shut down, costing hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. Tourism dropped rapidly during the protests.

Clashes between protesters and soldiers left 90 people dead and angry protesters set fire to more than 30 buildings, including a major shopping center at Ratchaprasong.

Rifai says Thailand is resilient and tourism is already bouncing back.

"No matter what, tourism is the future of Thailand. And, it's very important to connect the two things together, that Thailand is back in business, Bangkok is back in business and tourism is our business," he said.

Rifai says it will take a few months before it is clear that Thailand's tourism has recovered. And political unrest, he acknowledges, could return.

Despite that, he says Thailand remains one of the most popular destinations for European tourists.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid