Over one billion tourists will voyage in 2012 crossing an international boundary, a threshold to be met for the first time in history, UN officials said while meeting tourism ministers gathering in Mexico this week.
"We will have more than a billion tourists, that means one-seventh of humanity. This has never happened in history," said Taleb Rifai, head of the UN World Tourism Organization Tuesday speaking to tourism ministers from the G20 countries.
The number of international tourist arrivals is expected to rise in 2012 by 3.0-4.0 percent, reaching the historic one billion mark by the end of the year, according to WTO figures, rising from some 980 million tourist arrivals recorded in 2011.
International tourism grew by 5.7 percent in the first two months of 2012, the agency said, surpassing 131 million in January and February, up from 124 million in the same period last year.
The ministerial meeting, in the resort town of Merida in Mexico's Yucatan, continues Wednesday focusing on strategies to combat barriers to the free movement of tourists around the world.