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International travelers expected to number 1 billion this year

September 14, 2012|By Hugo Martin
(Michael Robinson Chavez/Los…)

The global economy may still be teetering but that is not stopping people from traveling abroad.

With a record 467 million tourists traveling internationally in the first six months of the year, the United Nations World Tourism Organization predicts the number will reach 1 billion tourists by the end of the year.

In 2011, the number of tourists traveling outside of their home country reached 990 million. The United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary-General Taleb Rifai forecast this week during the Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macao that the number would reach 1 billion.

"Amid the current economic uncertainty, tourism is one of the few economic sectors in the world growing strongly," he said.

The number of international tourists worldwide grew by 5% between January and June, compared with the same period in 2011, according to the organization.

Most of the growth came from Asia, where Japanese tourism has rebounded from last year's earthquake and China's growing middle class are spending heavily to visit other parts of the globe, including the U.S. In fact, the growth of outbound tourists from China is up 30% this year, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

The U.S. has also been enjoying a strong inflow of tourists in the past year, particularly from countries like Brazil, South Korea, China and Australia.

ALSO:

U.S. travel and tourism on pace to set spending record

Hawaii sees a bigger wave of tourists

Japan's tourism industry expected to fully recover in 2012 

Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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