Worldwide growth in tourism will slow this year as a result of the deteriorating global economy and high fuel prices.

But continuing growth in China, India and Russia should ensure overall growth of 3% this year – about one-third down on the long-term growth trend.

The World Travel and Tourism Council issued revised predictions at travel trade show ITB in Berlin. It blamed a growing economic downturn alongside the weak dollar,

higher fuel costs and concern about climate change for a decline from its previous forecast of  4.4% growth in tourism numbers this year.

WTTC president Jean-Claude Baumgarten said: “Growth in travel and tourism will slow. However, prospects remain bright in the medium term.”

John Walker, chairman of analyst Oxford Economics which produced the figures, said: “The slowdown in economic growth is increasing concerns for 2008. But China, India and other emerging markets are still growing rapidly.”

Walker suggested slowing economic growth would see some travellers switch from foreign to domestic tourism.