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Tourism bodies ‘must focus on economy and climate change’

Governments and tourism ­authorities should redirect funds to counter the impact of economic downturn and meet the challenge of climate change, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation will say tomorrow.

UNWTO leaders note solid growth in international tourism in the first half of the year has given way to a deteriorating market worldwide.

Secretary-general Francesco Frangialli warned: “Tourism is resilient, but there is a stage of deterioration beyond which tourism will suffer.”

Assistant secretary-general Geoffrey Lipman said: “No one wants to talk down the market, but the impression is of a deteriorating first half of next year.”

He added: “Business has been relatively normal until the last couple of months. We are talking about a slowdown rather than a contraction, unless business confidence slides off the table.

“We suspect business travellers will put off some trips and leisure travellers will go to nearer and cheaper destinations.”

A UNWTO Resilience ­Committee, set up last month in recognition of the downturn, will provide updated analysis and policy responses.

“We can provide more sensitive analysis and give monthly forecasts,” said Lipman.

A UNWTO forum suggested tourism authorities allocate 2% of promotion budgets to programmes directed at the impacts of the crisis and of climate change.

A report on Global Imbalances and Structural Change in World Tourism will be unveiled at the UNWTO Ministers Summit at WTM tomorrow.

Attendance is by invite only, with a press conference immediately after.

  • Date: Tuesday November 11
  • Time: 12.30pm
  • Location: Platinum Suite 4, Level 3

* More WTM 2008 coverage at travelweekly.co.uk/wtm2008

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