South America and South Asia lead tourism recovery

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The Independent Travel

Tourism around the world is continuing to recover, according to figures released this week by the United Nations.

The UN World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) International Tourism barometer showed a five percent jump in the first two months of this year, with more than 124 million arrivals in January and February.

The growth was particularly pronounced in South America and South Asia, said the UNWTO, which saw a 15 percent jump in arrivals.

Subsaharan Africa saw 13 percent more visitors compared to the same period in 2010 and Central and Eastern Europe saw 12 percent more, while the Americas grew with the global average of five percent.

The only regions that posted a fall in visitor numbers were the Middle East, which fell by 10 percent and North Africa, down by nine percent.

In a further piece of good news, the UNWTO predicted that despite continuing unrest in the Middle East and the devastating effects of the earthquake in Japan, tourism figures this year are likely to hold up, with travelers seeking other destinations rather than canceling plans altogether.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said that he believed the fall in demand in Tunisia, Egypt and Japan is expected to bottom out and recovery to begin this year.

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