8-Oct-2009 10:13 AM

UNWTO: Increasing confidence in 2010 recovery for the tourism sector

United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) stated (02-Oct-2009) its forecast for tourism arrivals for 2010 is improving, noting that the conditions of the tourism market are starting to indicate stronger prospects for a recovery. International arrivals declined 4% in Jul-2009, (compared to falls of 10% in May-2009 and 7% in Jun-2009). The UNWTO Panel of Experts Confidence Index is improving, reflecting stronger confidence in market conditions. Many destinations are showing a "gradual change for the better", particularly in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Year-to-Jul-2009 tourist arrivals by region: 

  • Europe: -8%; Still enduring the impact of recession in the majority of its source markets, but demand might be picking up;
  • Asia Pacific: -6%; Some destinations (Republic of Korea and Malaysia), are bucking the overall negative trend with significant increases. It is “very likely” that Asia returned to positive growth in Aug-2009, as many destinations already reported significant improvement;
  • Americas: -7%; Lower rate of decline in Jul-2009, but this has not been as significant as in Europe due to the fact that some destinations have been impacted by the A(H1N1) outbreak;
  • Middle East -13%; Positive results were reported in Jun/Jul-2009. Arrivals are still well above 2007 levels, as the current decline follows two very strong growth years. Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria reporting “noteworthy” growth rates;
  • Africa: +4%; Strong growth in North African destinations around the Mediterranean and the positive results of destinations such as Kenya, South Africa and Swaziland.


  • Economic conditions, combined with the uncertainties brought about by A(H1N1) influenza, are expected to continue impacting tourism demand – at least in the short term. Decline rates are anticipated to ease during the remainder of 2009, with international tourism expected to fall by -4% to -6% for the full year. Growth for the full year is projected to be negative in all regions, except for Africa. [more]

UNWTO:As the latest economic data and prospects indicate that the world economy may be starting to emerge from its most severe recession of the post second world war period, in tourism too there are signs that confidence is returning and that demand is improving for both business and leisure travel,” Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General. Source: UNWTO, 02-Oct-2009.

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