The travel industry is still under major pressure from the recession.
This year’s top gathering of professionals the World Travel Market in London attracted over 5,000 exhibitors pondering what to do about falling tourism numbers. From January to August, they were down seven percent worldwide on last year. The European Travel Operators Association said Europe is worse effected, with an eight percent fall and it is 11 percent down for central and eastern Europe. Tom Jenkins, ETOA Executive Director told euronews: “The economic crisis has hit tourism, there’s no doubt. A lot of sectors have suffered, particularly the in-bound sector in Europe. And we do rely heavily on north America and Japan to bring us a lot of visitors and it would be stupid to pretend it has not been difficult. But there are signs of life.” The hope is that big events next year, like the World Cup in South Africa and World Expo in Shanghai, will help boost tourism. The numbers of travellers may be down but they are still going to the same places. The United States, France and Spain remain the top destinations. And the back end of 2009 is showing signs of improvement numbers of travellers on the increase. Euronew’s Tiago Marques, who covered World Travel Market, said: “With the first signs of economic recovery in second half of this year, the tourism industry is optimistic about 2010. The stakes are high, but there are reasons to be cheerful. The crisis started in the second half of 2008, and this year the tourism industry’s average earnings are more than two billion euros a day.”