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Tourism Industry Suffering From Economic Crisis

Tourism Industry Starting To Suffer From Global Economic Crisis, UN Agency Warns

New York, Oct 16 2008 7:10PM

Global tourism is already feeling the effects of the financial crisis, slowing down over the northern summer this year, the United Nations tourism agency reports, warning that the industry could suffer a sharper downturn in the months ahead.

Consumer demand is falling in both the business and leisure tourism sectors, according to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which held a two-day Executive Council meeting that concluded yesterday in Madrid.

International tourism grew around 5 per cent between January and April this year, compared to the same period in 2007, but started slowing down when the summer holidays began in the Northern Hemisphere.

The World Tourism Barometer, compiled by a UNWTO panel of experts, “now shows a perceptible loss of confidence regarding the short-term outlook,” the agency said in a press release following the meeting.

UNWTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli told the Council’s meeting that numerous tourism businesses worldwide were already suffering from the credit crunch and many consumers were cutting back on travel spending.

“Experience teaches us that tourism is resilient, but there is no denying that there is a certain stage of deterioration of the situation beyond which tourism too will begin to suffer,” Mr. Frangialli said.

UNWTO said it expects that tourism could be hit even harder over the remaining months of this year and the first half of 2009 as the slowdown filters through the global economy.

The agency’s Executive Council agreed to set up a “resilience committee” to support public and private sector members with accurate economic analysis and response mechanisms.

ENDS

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