Compared to other sectors of the global economy, the industry is one of the fastest growing, accounting for more than one third of the total global services trade. International tourist arrivals have grown by 4.3 per cent between 1995 and 2008. The sector has benefited from the process of globalization and from the constantly falling relative costs of travel. In 1950 the travel industry recorded 25 million international tourist arrivals while there were 277 million in 1980, 438 million in 1990, 684 million in 2000, 904 million in 2007 and 922 million in 2008 (see figure 1). Since 1990, international arrivals have increased by 4.3 per cent annually and the UNWTO expects them to rise by 4 per cent per annum over the next 20 years. During the past 25 years, international tourist arrivals have increased about one percentage point faster than global GDP in real terms. After an increase in 2008 (US$942 billion), international tourism receipts decreased by 5.7 per cent in real terms to US$852 billion in 2009. Over the past decade, international tourism arrivals have differed across regions of the world. In emerging regions, international tourist arrivals received by developing countries have continuously risen from 31 per cent in 1990 to 45 per cent in 2008. Asia and the Pacific have seen a significant annual average growth rate of 7.2 per cent, including 21 per cent in Hong Kong (China), 11 per cent in China, and 10 per cent in Japan. North America‘s arrivals grew by 2.4 per cent, with the United States stagnating at -0.1 per cent. Western Europe had an average growth rate of 2.2 per cent. Although OECD countries saw their international arrivals strongly decline, during the final years of the 1990s, they continued playing a major role in international tourism, which remains the fastest growing element of the sector. In 2008, OECD countries still accounted for 57 per cent of international tourist arrivals and for 67 per cent of corresponding travel receipts.