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World tourism down by 8%

Newly-published figures have revealed that world tourism is currently down 8% this year on the same time last year.

Taleb Rifai, the secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, said it had initially forecast an overall slump of 2% for the calendar year, but in light of the current figures said it now expected a fall of 5%.
He said it was a major challenge to get world leaders to take the tourism industry seriously. Speaking at a Tourism Society debate with the UNWTO entitled ‘Travel and Tourism: Stimulus for G20 Economies’, Rifai said: “Very few [world leaders] are aware that tourism can be part of the solution and very few give it political support.

“Tourism means jobs, trade and infrastructure and we have to get that message across.” Rifai said the decision by the UK government to pull out of the organisation later this year was a mistake. “It sends the message that they are not thinking along the same lines as us,” he said.

Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, the tourism minister for South Africa, said his country viewed tourism as a means to create jobs and as hugely important. He said its government and the private sector were investing a total of £5.5bn in its infrastructure and ensuring hotels and lodges were environmentally friendly. He claimed the staging of next year’s World Cup in South Africa was a huge opportunity for the country to showcase its products. “We will be ready for it. People will be able to go on safari in the morning, to a game in the afternoon, and back into the bush in the evening. It will be a real African World Cup,” he said.

This article is quoted from the Tourism ROI Newsletter published on 2009-06.16.
The article is uploaded by Majbritt Thomsen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’.

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