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Business travel growth will slow, says World Travel and Tourism Council

There will be no recession in travel despite the darkening economic clouds, but growth in business travel will slow substantially according to World Travel and Tourism Council forecasts.

WTTC secretary-general Jean-Claude Baumgarten said: “People might travel less far and less often, and might make shorter trips, but they will continue to travel.”

Unveiling a WTTC prediction of 3% growth in worldwide trips this year, Baumgarten said: “We are not saying there will be no downturn. But there will be no repeat of the contraction of 2001-2003 [following the September 11 attacks], when aircraft flew virtually empty. That is not the situation.”

However, the WTTC predicts the growth rate in corporate travel will fall by two-thirds from 15% last year to 5% in 2009. It predicts a partial recovery in 2010-2011, but only to about half the growth rate last year.

Baumgarten said the high value of the euro would deter travel to the currency zone – including France, Spain, Italy and Greece. But he said: “Look at the demand for air traffic in India and China. There has been a shift of traffic and economic growth.”

The WTTC has revised down earlier forecasts, predicting average growth of 4.1% in the industry for the ten years to 2018. Last September, it predicted average annual growth of 4.3% over the ten years.




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