At the end of 1978, nearly 265 million tourists had traveled to the four corners of the globe, spending a total of $600 billion, Robert Lonati, secretary general of the World Tourist Organization (WTO) , said in a survey published here.

This shows a rise of 9 percent in tourist traffic compared with 1977.

Over the years, holidays have become more and more important, the survey indicated. Only 6 percent of people questioned were willing to give up their holidays, while 9 percent were ready to forego luxuries, 14 percent would cut down on food, 27 percent would do without a car and 28 percent were ready to cut down on clothing.

Tourism within countries was four times greater than international tourism, and largely because of the present economic crisis 10 billion people chose to spend their holidays in their own country.

The increase in tourism has been greatly boosted by the rise in the number of flights-especially between Europe and North America where, apart from more regular flights, cheap charter flights have been developed.

Noth America, Europe and Japan take the lion's share of world tourism, and Europe alone accounts for nearly 70 percent of the world's tourists. More than three-quarters of these are Europeans traveling to other countries on their continent; non-Europeans visiting Europa account for only 15 to 20 percent.

Compared with 1977, the increase in tourists in Europe has been 8 percent and the money spent there has gony up by 25 to 30 percent.

The rise of long-distance travel and the growth rate of tourism in Africa-greater than anywhere else-are also significant compared with 1977, according to the survey.

In the Far East and the Pacific, tourism increased by 10 percent over the year, but the phenomenon was even more marked in Africa, where three countries, Tunisia, Morocco and Kenya, were host to 70 percent of the tourists on the African continent. Movements within the African continent are still not numerous, but the survey forecasts that it will be one of the main tourist spots of the future.

The survey says the opening of new areas will perhaps solve the problem of overcrowding of traditional tourist haunts, easing the load on both holidaymakers and those who cater to them.