UN tourism agency to set up ‘Resilience Committee’

UN tourism agency to set up ‘Resilience Committee’

New York: With the travel industry under stress, the United Nation’s tourism organisation has decided to create a ‘Resilience Committee´ to support its members by providing accurate economic analysis and response mechanisms.

The decision to form the Committee came as the tourism sector was feeling the pinch of reduced consumer demand both business and leisure as also credit crunch.

International tourism had registered solid growth at around 5% between January and April, compared to the same period of 2007. The slowdown began with the summer holidays in the northern hemisphere.

The panel of experts of the UN agency’s World Tourism Barometer, which until then maintained favourable views of the sector’s situation, now shows a perceptible loss of confidence regarding the short-term outlook.

Addressing the Executive Council earlier this week, the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary General Francesco Frangialli said: “Experience teaches us that tourism is resilient, but there is no denying that there is a certain stage of deterioration of the situation beyond which all economic sectors will begin to suffer."

Early in 2008 signs of an economic downturn emerged. Although demand still produced solid growth figures in that period, the UNWTO commissioned a study of the impacts of economic scenarios on the sector.

The UNWTO said that major challenges lie ahead as the economic slowdown is expected to be felt more widely in the first half of the next year with consumer cutting back further on their travel expenditure.