Billionth tourist in 2012 to cross international border December 13

The World Travel and Tourism Council based in London has calculated that the one billionth tourist to cross an international border in 2012 will do so on December 13.

Earlier this year the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) announced that one billion tourists would be traveling internationally this year.

The predictions were based on the numbers for the first six months of the year; a record of 467 million tourists traveled overseas from January to June, 5 percent more compared to the same period last year. This means that one out of seven people in the world will travel internationally this year.

There are a number of factors responsible for the recent boom in tourism. The rising middle classes in the Asia-Pacific region are leading the growth, traveling 8 percent more during the first six months of the year compared to the first semester in 2011.

Based on data available to the UNWTO for 2012 by early November, growth in spending on travel aborad rose in China (+30%), Poland (+22%), Malaysia (+18%), Russia (+15%), Argentina (+16%) and India (+11%), expected to lead the growth in 2012.

In 2012 a number of governments around the world have facilitated travel by easing visa procedures and making the processes for obtaining them more efficient.

The US relaxed visa restrictions for travelers from China and Brazil earlier this year. Measures included lowering visa application costs as well as increasing the number of consulates and visa application bureaus in the two countries.

According to the UNWTO, the most visited countries in 2011 included France, the US, China, Spain and Italy.