'Regional travel booms after US terror attacks'


Regional travel has been increasing rapidly, three times the normal rate since the attacks on New York and Washington, Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Khalid Kanoo told the Jeddah Economic Forum.

Air "traffic from the GCC states to North America dropped by more than 80 per cent, and to Europe by 35 per cent to 40 per cent," Kanoo said.

He was speaking during a panel discussion on "tourism and travel in today's world".

In the aftermath of September 11, regional tourism is growing faster than international, said Kanoo, who also expected a higher number of Haj pilgrims this year.

Kanoo saw that "things were getting better and improving. Dubai's empty hotels are getting filled again, and we are gradually coming back to life".

But he warned that if Western governments continue to "create barriers by delaying visas and mistreating travellers", the business will continue to suffer longer.