ECONOMY

Tourism here to stay

The global tourism industry is projected to grow by 1 to 1.5 percent this year, down from an original forecast of 3 percent, due principally to the global crisis brought on by the attacks on the USA on September 11, said Francesco Frangialli, secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization (WTO). Speaking last night at a dinner given by the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) in conjunction with the opening of the annual tourism exposition Philoxenia 2001 in Thessaloniki yesterday, Frangialli said the estimated figure is still positive growth. The industry’s great strength and great staying power as demonstrated during the Gulf War and the war in Kosovo means that it should return to normal growth levels by the end of 2002, the WTO secretary-general said. We still expect 1 billion international arrivals in 2010 and 1.5 billion in 2020, which assumes an annual growth rate of just over 4.1 percent, he predicted. The WTO however does not intend to stand idle. Frangialli said the WTO secretariat has drawn up an action plan at the urging of governments and members. The three-pronged action plan consists of setting up a crisis committee which will meet in London on November 11 to focus on safety, security and rebuilding a positive tourism image. The WTO secretary-general also called for special assistance for countries hit hard by the current crisis, especially those in the Middle East, South Asia and parts of the eastern Mediterranean. Separately, Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos said the State plans to set up a tourism development council for each region.