Tourism fighting back

Tourism experts selected by the World Tourism Organisation are anticipating an upsurge in travellers to the Middle East.

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By  John Irish Published  July 20, 2003

Tourism experts from across the globe are predicting a steady growth in the number of travellers to the Middle East after the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) released a travel barometer survey.

Using on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the highest), tourism gurus were asked to evaluate how they saw the periods from January to April and May to August.

Initial data for the early part of 2003 highlights the impact of the Iraqi conflict and the SARS epidemic. Experts rated tourism prospects in the first four months of the year at 1.8.

However, with the geopolitical situation turning for the better, the forecasts grew to 3.8 for the May-August period, the highest in the world, with anticipation of further improvements for the second part of the year.

“The optimism expressed by the WTO Panel of experts is based on the expectation of a gradual improvement of the economic conditions, the reduction of uncertainty as a result of the relaxation of international tensions and the waning of SARS,” said Francisco Frangialli, secretary general of the WTO.

"However, late reservations and noticeable price sensitivity are expected to persist as main market trends,” he added.

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