Tourism crisis panel focuses on recovery


The tourism industry is responding to the crisis that followed the September 11 attacks in the US with dozens of measures taken around the globe designed to strengthen tourism companies and restore public confidence in travel.

Recovery strategies and an assessment of the current situation in tourism were discussed at a meeting last month of the newly created Crisis Committee of the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) in London.

The committee includes tourism ministers from 21 countries affected by crisis including Bahrain and Egypt, 15 leaders of private sector tourism companies or associations, and representatives of the European Commission.

"The crisis is a global one, but it must be managed on a local basis," said Egyptian Tourism Minister Mamdouh El Beltagui, who chairs the committee.

"Some destinations are more affected than others and some types of tourism are more affected than others, so specific actions need to be tailored to fit the different situations."

WTO reported that travel reservations worldwide currently stand 12-15 per cent below the levels of last year at this time, as a result of the terrorist attacks, the war in Afghanistan and a global economy that was weakening even before September 11.

"We expect the industry to begin to come back as the global economy improves in the second half of 2002," WTO secretary-general Francesco Frangialli told the committee.

"People still need to travel for business and people nowadays consider holidays to be more of a necessity than a luxury, so the tourism industry proves time after time to be very resilient."