Uprisings and unrest in the middle east and north Africa are top topics this week at ITB Berlin – one of the tourism world’s biggest events.
The travel trade is just recovering from the economic downturn and now some countries will have to scramble to tempt back the tourists.
Volker Boettcher, the chief executive of TUI Germany, part of Europe’s largest tour operator TUI Travel, said Egypt is seeing bookings recover faster than Tunisia.
As for Libya, ITB’s organiser Jürgen Büchy, the president of the German Travel Association, said it was never a big holiday destination.
“There have been many attempts in the past to establish Libya as a tourist spot. There are, of course, many beaches, but only a little infrastructure. The Libyans were trying to improve that. Of course, the current civil war-like situation has dealt a serious blow to those efforts.”
Generally, travel firms said that from the start of the year there have been strong bookings for the main summer months while the UN’s World Tourism Organisation reported international arrivals rose by seven per cent last year.
In Europe, TUI’s Volker Boettcher said Spain seemed to be benefiting most from the situation in North Africa.