What economic downturn? Tourism still looks good: UN
Friday, 4 July 2008: In spite of global concerns around markets and fuel, tourism numbers continue to surge at a rate above what the UNWTO had previously predicted for the long term.
According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, for the first six months of the year, tourism grew by 5%, which is 1% higher than the UNWTO’s long term tourism growth projection of 4%.
Additionally all sub-regions saw growth and the UNWTO’s forecast for the rest of the year is generally positive. The fastest growing regions were the Middle East, followed by North East and South East Asia.
“Given current circumstances we are cautious, although we remain positive for the overall industry perspective in 2008”, said Francesco Frangialli, UNWTO Secretary-General.
“The extent of any tourism demand adjustment and its consequences for the sector will depend on how the economy evolves and consumers react, both of which are directly interrelated to oil and food prices. UNWTO is monitoring this evolving situation closely.”
Current economic instability, in particular in the areas of commodities, will continue to be a large challenge for the growth of tourism expenditure, due to its influence on disposable income and travel budgets.
Consumer confidence also appears to be dropping in positivity, but the UNWTO feels that this may not necessarily impact too much upon the travel sector as it has proven time and again that it can weather such shocks.
It is unlikely that international travel will reach the spectacular levels of 2004 – 2007 when a strong economy and confidence boosted annual growth levels to 7%.