• Anne O’Brien


Tourism today is a major global force. Since the 1950s tourism’s social, cultural, and economic importance has risen, at local, national, regional, and global levels. The number of international arrivals worldwide has grown from 25 million in 1950 to 922 million in 2008 and is expected to reach 1.6 billion by 2020. World tourism receipts have grown from US$2.1 billion in 1950 to US$944 billion in 2008 (€642 billion) (UNWTO, 2006). The overall export income generated by international tourism was US$1.1 trillion in 2008 and tourism exports account for 30 per cent of the world’s exports of commercial services and 6 per cent of overall exports of goods and services (UNWTO, 2008: 2). Globally, as an export category, tourism ranks fourth after fuels, chemicals, and automotive products and is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world (UNWTO, 2008: 2). However, the second half of 2008 showed an abrupt shift in the sector’s global growth trend. Despite positive growth of 5 per cent in the first half of 2008, from August onwards, growth was negative at -1 per cent (UNWTO, 2009). The 2008 credit crunch, rises in oil and commodity prices, massive exchange-rate fluctuations, and a global financial crisis all depressed consumer confidence, which directly impacted on tourism consumption and international tourism went into crisis.


Tourism Industry Tourism Development International Tourism Competition State Tourism Product 
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Copyright information

© Anne O’Brien 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne O’Brien
    • 1
  1. 1.Kairos Communications Ltd. and National University of IrelandMaynoothIreland

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