Worldwide tourist numbers hit record in 2006

MADRID, Jan 29, 2007 (AFP) – The number of tourists worldwide rose 4.5 percent last year from 2005 to reach a record 842 million, with Africa showing the sharpest gain, the World Tourism Organisation reported Monday. It forecast an increase of 4.0 percent in tourist numbers in 2007, noting that the trend was now toward a decline in the pace of growth.

Africa enjoyed an 8.0 percent rise in tourist numbers last year and was designated the “star performer” by the organisation.

Following an unprecedented 1.2 percent decline in 2003, sparked by the war in Iraq, world tourism rebounded the following year with a 10 percent surge in the number of visitors. .