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European Travel Commission (ETC), U.S. State Department Reports Indicate Global Travel Recovery Underway

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The European Travel Commission (ETC) has just published its third quarterly report on European Tourism in 2010 – Trends & Prospects. Their data confirms a global recovery in travel is underway. In Europe, which experienced growth in visitor arrivals through the first half of the year with indications of acceleration into the third quarter, these gains have favored Western Europe while Northern Europe continues to lag behind last year.

Some European destinations have benefited from favourable exchange rate conditions. Russia and Japan are among several countries which have benefited from exchange rate conditions, with the US also showing signs of recovery in recent months.

However, the outlook for global economic recovery has become much less certain. In this tenuous environment, risks are both high and skewed towards the downside. The US economy, in particular, has slowed while the Eurozone showed surprisingly strong in the first half of 2010 in the face of fiscal tightening and sovereign debt worries.

While the corporate sector is flush with cash and represents an upside risk to the forecast, a timid response in hiring and investment lends to the possibility of a sub-par recovery.
Uncertainty in the financial sector led by problems with European banks and stalling of asset prices provides additional downside risks. Further crisis in the financial sector raises the risk of a return to recession.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that international visitation to the United States is projected to increase nine percent in 2010, setting a new record of 60 million visitors in a year.  In addition, growth in the travel and tourism industry is projected to increase to nearly 83 million visitors by 2015 – a 51 percent increase over 2009.

Their October forecast represents a significant upward revision from May and reflects robust economic growth forecasted through 2015 from Asia (+101 percent) and South America (+92 percent).  Individual country performances over the next five years are expected to be led by China (346 percent), Brazil (198 percent), South Korea (171 percent), and India (123 percent).

Read the full press release from the European Travel Commission or download the European Tourism 2010 – Trends & Prospect, Q3/2010.

Read the full press release from the U.S. Commerce Department.

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