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World tourism to bounce back after terror attacks says travel industry expert

The recent bombings in major international destinations are likely to have a negative short-term impact on visitor numbers but the world`s inbound and outbound tourism sectors won`t be impacted in the long term, according to…

The recent bombings in major international destinations are likely to have a negative short-term impact on visitor numbers but the world`s inbound and outbound tourism sectors won`t be impacted in the long term, according to the world`s leading producer of travel and tourism events, Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE).



As the aftermath of terror attacks or natural disasters over recent years has clearly demonstrated, tourism is probably the world`s most resilient industry and though there are often short term financial losses, the burgeoning and fast-growing international tourism sector will quickly bounce back, said Tom Nutley, Chairman, RTE, which organises 14 tourism events worldwide including Arabian Travel Market, the Middle East`s premier industry exhibition.



Spain, Turkey, the UK and most recently, Egypt have suffered severe confidence blows for their inbound tourism sector as a result of terrorist attacks, and Asia was hit by the tsunami disaster last December, but early 2005 World Tourism Organisation (WTO) figures indicate that the markets have responded well.



According to the WTO, positive results are estimated over the first quarter of 2005 for all regions, ranging from 5 per cent for Europe to 17 per cent for the Middle East. In the same period Asia and the Pacific grew by almost nine per cent with overall figures only marginally affected by the tsunami disaster,
said Nutley.



And last year`s all-time record of 763 million international tourist arrivals may even be surpassed in 2005 as at the moment, growth rates are very similar to those seen in the second half of 2004.



Nutley said that the impact of the recent Sharm El Sheikh bombings on the tourism-reliant Egyptian economy will be hopefully short-lived.



It`s possible that decreasing demand over the next few weeks could bring average Sharm El Sheikh room rates down, but such moves will be essential towards the immediate restoration of consumer and tour operator confidence in the destinations which have been affected.



Reflecting improvements in hotel performance, Egypt`s tourism industry has grown steadily and surely over the last five years reaching the 2003 peak of 6.4 million visitors, as the country was able to capitalise on a comprehensive marketing plan which helped it attract visitors who may have otherwise chosen competing Mediterranean destinations.



Egypt is an established international destination and its diverse offering and product quality can turn the tables and help the industry recover a lot quicker.



The Middle East continues to attract much unwanted attention, yet the number of international and inter-regional visitors grows constantly exceeding other global destinations, and that`s just how resilient the region`s tourism industry is.



A recent Hotel Benchmark Survey by Deloitte on year-to-October hotel performance, showed that 24 out of 27 Middle East markets tracked recorded double-digit growth in revenue per available room, and Egypt was one of them,
said Nutley.



Reed Travel Exhibitions says another indicator that the industry`s resilience is the increasing demand for presence at its events, including Arabian Travel Market, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre in the United Arab Emirates from May 2-5, 2006.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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