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The results of the new WTO World Tourism Barometer indicate that international tourism might be close to a turning point. Although the world economy is still rather weak, a

change for the better is expected to take place in the second half of the year. Initial data for 2003 clearly show the effects of the Iraq conflict and the SARS outbreak. Nevertheless, various destinations managed to post surprisingly good results, in particular, some of the recently most-afflicted destinations in the Caribbean, South America, and South Asia. With the uncertainty due to the geopolitical situation gradually falling away, the perspective is switching back towards economic prospects.

One of the innovative elements of the WTO World Tourism Barometer is its Panel of Experts. Over one hundred tourism experts from all over the world consulted during May also confirmed a more positive outlook for the coming period. While the panel gave the previous four-month period, January to April, an average score of 2.8 (on a scale from 1 to 5), the period from May to August was rated at 3.6 (a score of 4 meaning "better"). All regions share expectations of improvement over the four months to come. Prospects for Europe show a notable improvement, although the biggest jump is found in the Middle East. Africa and the Americas were already upbeat about the past four months and maintain or even slightly improve their expectations for the coming four months. The outlook for Asia and the Pacific clearly reflects the concern over SARS. However, as the outbreak is virtually under control, prospects are also expected to improve quickly in thisregion.

According to the Secretary-General, Mr Frangialli, 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. However, late reservations and noticeable price sensitivity are expected to persist as main market trends.

Tourism performance in 2003

The first part of 2003 has been predominantly a continuation of the 2002 scenario with the long-awaited economic recovery further delayed because of the prolonged uncertainty due to the Iraq conflict. Somedestinations, however, started the year with considerable growth (e.g Caribbean, Asia, United Kingdom and South Africa), but mostly compared to rather depressed levels in the first months of 2002. The start of the war in Iraq in March caused an immediate plunge in demand, particularly in air traffic, interregional travel, and travel to destinations perceived as close to the conflict zone. Very few destinations and sectors were immune from this new setback.

However, as Mr. Frangialli stressed, a significant difference was that, this time around, national tourism administrations, tourism boards, and tourism businesses were much better prepared and attempted to adapt quickly to the changing conditions. Measures primarily focussed on shifting or reducing capacity and rigorous cost control. In this respect, the emergence of SARS was much more unexpected and disrupted destinations and businesses far more severely. National tourism administrations (NTAs) have backed the sector with rapid action plans in several areas such as communication, promotion and marketing.

Tourism performance by region

Europe: The "wait-and-see" attitude of consumers, induced by the

looming war and by the economic prospects in most of the advanced

economies, resulted in declines in the majority of European

destinations in early 2003. With the start of the military

intervention in March, most countries dived into the minus side.

Nevertheless, March figures were also influenced by the fact that the

2003 Easter holiday - considered as the start of the tourism season

for many European destinations - fell in April and not in March as it

did in 2002. With the disappearance of uncertainty, expectations for

the summer season are reasonable to good, but with late bookings and

pressure on prices.


Americas: Tourism performance in the Americas varied significantly

between North America and the rest of the continent. In particular,

the United States has obviously been preoccupied with the Iraq

conflict, fear of terrorism and the rather uncertain economic

situation. The United States, Canada, and Mexico suffered two-digit

decreases in March. Many other destinations in the region also saw

declines in March, but far less pronounced. The Caribbean is showing

clear signs of resurgence, although this is not yet shared equally by

all its destinations. With the significant improvement of the economic

prospects in the Mercosur countries, particularly Argentina and Brazil,

travel in the region is picking up. Prospects are evaluated

positively by the sector, due to the fact that the length of the war

was less than expected and signs of a gradual recovery of the economic

situation in the United States are emerging.


Asia and the Pacific: The emergence of SARS in the second half of

March appears immediately as the main determinant in the evolution of

tourism in Asia in the first months of 2003, seriously affecting not

only the destinations under the World Health Organization (WHO) travel

advisories, but the majority of the destinations in the region. The

results posted over the first three or four months of the year are,

almost without exception, negative and particularly striking in

comparison to the region's outstanding performance in 2002. The only

destinations staying out of the turmoil are those in South Asia and in

Oceania. The coming months will definitely still be under the

influence of SARS, but with prospects of improvement as the number of

newly reported cases and deaths is continuously declining and travel

advisories for most regions are being lifted.


Africa and the Middle East: Destinations in the Middle East and North

Africa show a rather similar pattern, obviously reflecting the impact

of the war in Iraq. For example, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan,

Qatar, and Lebanon all started the year with a substantial increase in

January. February followed with a more moderate increase, while March

is showing sizeable drops. In April losses were already more limited,

with certain destinations posting modest increases. All African

countries that reported data for the corresponding months increased in

January and February and decreased in March. South Africa maintained

the good pulse shown in 2002 (+11%), with an increase of 9% in January

and 7% in February. Even during the month of March, when most

destinations around the world showed declines induced by the

geopolitical tension, the country only saw a slight decrease of 0.3%.


The WTO World Tourism Barometer - a new project by the WTO



The WTO World Tourism Barometer is a new activity of the Market

Intelligence and Promotion section of WTO aimed at monitoring the

short-term evolution of tourism and providing the sector with adequate

and timely information.


The WTO World Tourism Barometer is scheduled to be published three

times a year (January, June, and October). It contains three permanent

elements: an overview of short-term tourism data from destination

countries and air transport, the WTO Panel of Tourism Experts with a

retrospective and prospective evaluation of tourism performance, and

selected economic data relevant for tourism.


Full version of the first issue of Barometer can be downloaded from:


More information:

World Tourism Organization - Marketing Intelligence Section, tel +34 91 567 82 12 / fax +34 91 567 82 17\

WTO Secretary- General calls for support of mutual insurance in airline sector

Madrid: World Tourism Organization Secretary-General Mr Francesco Frangialli asked governments to fully support the initiative of a global mutual insurance solution in the airline sector. In a letter to the ministers of tourism Mr Frangialli suggested the governments to respond positively to this proposal created by the world aviation community through International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) through civil aviation ministries and airlines. "Following the attacks (on 11 September 2001), insurance companies threatened to cancel war risk and anti-terrorism insurance worldwide and whilst that situation was resolved, the insurance market is unwilling to reinstate it in a way which gives stability for airline operations for the future," Mr Frangialli states in a letter recently sent from the WTO Headquarters in Madrid, Spain. "This affects all companies and markets but is of particular importance to smaller developing markets whose tourism is entirely dependent on air transport links."

The airline sector, which is fundamental to the long term development of tourism, was one of the hardest hit in the recent tourism crisis. WTO believes the initiative of ICAO, with the full support of the private sector through International Air Transport Association (IATA), would have a broader strategic scope in demonstrating the importance of the tourism sector and hence its need for adequate reasonablypriced air service.

For additional information please contact:
Rok V. Klancnik/Alla Peressolova
Tel. (+34) 91-567-8191, (+34) 91-567-8193
Fax: (+34) 91-567-8218

New Projects for Malawi and Senegal
Two new WTO technical cooperation projects for Africa will be looking at boosting tourism potential in very different destinations - the virtually untapped nation of Malawi in the South and the more mature destination of Senegal in the northwest.

In Malawi, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is funding a $247,000 strategic tourism development plan and a priority action program to be prepared by WTO . The project will concentrate on promoting ecotourism said WTO Regional Representative for Africa Ousmane Ndiaye.

The country's principal attraction is Lake Malawi, one of the biggest in Africa, which could be developed as an inland beach resort area, in conjuction with visits to tribal villages and national parks.

The WTO report, expected by October, will also assess staffing and training requirements, including a program for hotel and catering training.

Senegal: By contrast, Senegal has been developing its tourism since the early 1970s and is now receiving some half a million tourists a year. There a $75,000 WTO project, financed by UNDP, aimed at studying tourism's impact on the country's economy. "We will be assessing what new opportunities there are, and how to improve management to increase the benefits from tourism said Mr. Ndiaye.

With most of the travel industry run by foreigners, one objective will be to seek ways for easing bank lending facilities to enable the Senegalese themselves to play a greater role. He hopes that cooperatives can be set up to promote cultural tourism, giving visitors a change to stay in villages and join in everyday rural activities.

Tourism Growth: Africa shows positive increase
The Tourism sector rebounded after two years of restrained growth due to the Asian economic crisis. Preliminary results by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) show international tourist arrivals growing by 4-5 per cent in 1999 to reach an estimated 665-670 million by the end of the year. Click on map for information on over 20 African destinations for 2000.

See latest Africa tourism forecast on next page

is not included in the above. Itwas listed with Middle East Destination and had 4,489,000 arrivals- an increase of 39.7%.

World Tourism Organization Global Code of Ethics
With the intention of protecting the earth's natural environment and cultural heritage from the non-stop growth of international tourism, world leaders approved a Global Code of Ethics for Tourism during a summit meeting in Santiago on Friday. The code, developed by the World Tourism Organization (WTO), sets out a 10-point blueprint for safeguarding the resources upon which tourism depends and for ensuring that more of the skyrocketing profits from tourism benefit residents of tourism destinations.

"With international tourism forecast to nearly triple in volume in the first 20 years of the next century, we felt that the Code of Ethics was needed to ensure the sustainability of our industry," said WTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli. The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism includes nine articles outlining the 'rules of the game` for destinations, governments, tour operators, developers, travel agents, workers and travellers themselves. The tenth article involves the redress of grievances through the creation of a World Committee on Tourism Ethics. For example, travellers are required to learn about the customs, health hazards and security risks of countries they are preparing to visit before departure, while destinations and tourism professionals are held responsible for repatriating tourists in the case of the bankruptcy of a travel service provider.

Investors and public authorities are required to carry out environmental impact studies before beginning tourism development projects and to involve local residents. Other articles involve the rights of workers in the tourism industry and the freedom of movement of people across national boundaries. The code was developed after extensive consultation with governments, trade associations, labour unions, private sector companies and non-governmental organizations. It marks the first time that a document of this type will have a mechanism for enforcement, which will be based on conciliation through the World.

Committee on Tourism Ethics.
The five-day WTO General Assembly, held in Santiago from September 27 to October 1, attracted some 800 delegates from 110 nations around the world-including 60 ministers or secretaries of state for tourism. Other items on the agenda included a day-long session on Tourism & Cyberspace and the release of a new study published by the WTO Business Council Marketing Tourism Destinations in the Information Age.

"Internet is the perfect medium for public-private cooperation in tourism and it is revolutionizing all aspects of the tourism sector," said Business Council CEO Jose Luis Zoreda. Delegates also endorsed a new system for accurately measuring the economic impact of tourism activity called the Tourism Satellite Account and urged member nations to begin implementing the system as a way of raising awareness about the vital role of tourism in their national economies.