Travel briefs

Tourism hits record high

INTERNATIONAL TOURISM has broken all records, despite the various terrorist attacks and natural disasters across the world. According to the World Tourism Organisation, in spite of the turbulent environment we live in nowadays, destinations worldwide have grown by 100 million international arrivals between 2002 and 2005.

Africa led the way with growth estimated at 10 per cent, with particularly remarkable results for Kenya. The Seychelles (up seven per cent) and Mauritius (up six per cent), both improved on their 2004 results and Morocco recorded an increase of five per cent.

The United States continued the recovery started in 2004 (up eight per cent between January – September), while Mexico (up eight per cent January – November) and Cuba (up 13 per cent January – November) still showed above-average increases, even after last year’s devastating hurricanes.

The Middle East entered a more moderate phase of growth, with Egypt up six per cent and Dubai up seven per cent – all close to the regional average.

Europe recorded relatively modest growth of four per cent, which can be considered very encouraging given the rather weak economy, although Turkey was a star performer, with an increase of 20 per cent, or 3.4 million arrivals.