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Follow the Money

The global downturn apparently doesn't apply to global travel

ON DEC. 13 LAST YEAR, a very important person went on a trip. While we don’t know who this person is, or where he or she went, the U.N. World Tourism Barometer declares that someone became the year’s billionth tourist that day, setting a new record for world travel. That milestone means more than fresh footprints in faraway places. Global tourism generated about $1.2 trillion (9 percent of global GDP) in 2011, and things are only looking up: From January to August 2012, tourists spent $34 billion more than they did in the same period in 2011. Here, we look at who’s going where, and what they’re spending when they arrive.

ILLUSTRATION BY KELLI ANDERSON

Data from UNTWO Tourism Highlights, 2012 Ed.

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