nieuws

Fall in tourist arrivals biggest ever

Horeca

The worldwide tourism industry suffered its biggest ever fall in numbers of arrivals last year, according to the World Tourism Organisation. The United Nations-affiliated body said that tourism arrivals fell 0.5%. The drop represents a total of 8.5 million fewer visitors than in 2002, with the total number of arrivals in 2003 being 694 million.

Growth, with which the tourism industry has been accustomed, is set to resume this year, however. In fact, the WTO said conditions began improving during 2003 with the second half of the year generally showing positive figures. Overall this was not enough to offset the first half decline.

WTO secretary general Francesco Frangialli said that international tourism had lived through another exceptionally difficult year in 2003. Three negative factors – the Iraq conflict, SARS and a persistently weak economy – came together. But Frangialli said the fact the industry did not collapse confirmed the resilience of tourism.

International arrivals in Western Europe were down 3% or 3.7 million fewer. The picture in Europe as a whole was flat, with Southern Europe seeing no change from 2002 and both Central and Eastern Europe enjoying an increase in visitors.

Growth, with which the tourism industry has been accustomed, is set to resume this year, however. In fact, the WTO said conditions began improving during 2003 with the second half of the year generally showing positive figures. Overall this was not enough to offset the first half decline.

WTO secretary general Francesco Frangialli said that international tourism had lived through another exceptionally difficult year in 2003. Three negative factors – the Iraq conflict, SARS and a persistently weak economy – came together. But Frangialli said the fact the industry did not collapse confirmed the resilience of tourism.

International arrivals in Western Europe were down 3% or 3.7 million fewer. The picture in Europe as a whole was flat, with Southern Europe seeing no change from 2002 and both Central and Eastern Europe enjoying an increase in visitors.

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