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Strong Global Tourism rebound expected in 2010

After a struggling year for the global travel industry in 2009 with incidents such as the swine flu and the credit crisis, a new report from the UNWTO predicts an upturn with a strong rebound in 2010

Strong Global Tourism rebound expected in 2010
After a struggling year for the travel and tourism industry in 2009 a new report by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) expects a strong rebound coming for 2010. With the new year leaving behind the aftermath of the credit crisis and swine flu which gave way to “one of the most difficult years” for the industry, there is much optimism for a brighter outlook in 2010.
The UNWTO is predicting a growth of between 3% and 4% in 2010 after a fourth-quarter recovery in 2009. This follows a less-than-expected 4 % fall to 880 million international arrivals in 2009, due to surprising growth in the fourth quarter, led by the increasingly popular Asia, Pacific region and Middle East holidays.
“The global economic crisis aggravated by the uncertainty around the ... (H1N1) pandemic turned 2009 into one of the toughest years for the tourism sector,” UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai told a news conference in Madrid.
“However, the results of recent months suggest that recovery is underway, and even somewhat earlier and at a stronger pace than initially expected,” he continued.
The 2010 growth outlook was “confirmed by the remarkable rise of the WNWTO Panel of Experts Confidence index”.
However he cautioned that this prediction does not give the industry license to comfortably sit back as 2010 would still be a challenging year.
Many countries were quick in reacting to the crisis and actively implemented measures to mitigate its impact and stimulate recovery. Such was the case for Jamaica holidays which managed exceptionally well the decline in demand and looked at ways of sustaining tourism.
Although we expect growth to return in 2010, a premature withdrawal of these stimulus measures and the temptation to impose extra taxes may jeopardise the pace of rebound in tourism,” he added.
He also said that Europe and North America are lagging behind Asia and the Middle East in the recovery.
By region, Europe has fared the worst in the downturn, finishing 2009 6% down due to a very poor first half of the year. Caribbean holidays on the other hand, even when they also experienced a decline were still able to keep things moving.
Tourism in Asia and the Pacific fell 2% but had “showed an extraordinary rebound.” Arrival slumped by 7% between January and June, the second half of 2009 saw 3% growth “reflecting regional economic results and prospects.”
Arrivals were down 6% in the Middle East with Dubai holidays experiencing some truly gloomy times. But the region, “though still far from the growth levels of previous years, had a positive second half.”
In the Americas, where arrivals were down 5%, the Caribbean returned to growth in the last four months of 2009.
Africa holidays surprisingly “bucked the trend” with an admirable growth of 5%
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