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News Item, Sept. 15, 2001: Security will bring lasting delays The security measures imposed in the wake of this week's terror attacks will have a lasting impact on passengers traveling through the USA's already congested airports. Passengers will have to wait in longer check-in lines, carry more documentation, pass through more rigorous security checks and possibly bring fewer carry-on items aboard.

WTO Press Release

Map of North AmericaWTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli sent a message of sympathy and solidarity to the United States following the attacks, then flew to a meeting of tourism ministers from 11 CIS nations in Bishkek, Kyrgyztstan, where a declaration strongly condemning terrorism was adopted. The 139-member inter-governmental organization is also going ahead with final preparations for its bi-annual General Assembly set to open on 23 September in Seoul with an address by the President of the Republic of Korea Kim Dae-jung, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000. The meetings will move to Osaka, Japan and be opened by His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince of Japan.

“It is important that an international organization such as ours demonstrates that it has the courage to continue in the face of adversity," said Mr. Frangialli. Delegates to the General Assembly will discuss how the events in the United States will affect world tourism, but WTO analysts agree that the true impact will be hard to determine.


"It is the first time that four aircraft have been hijacked at the same time, it is the first time that all US airports have been shut down and it is the first time that international air traffic has been

thrown into such chaos-so it is very difficult, if not impossible, to

draw conclusions in such unusual circumstances," said the


"The magnitude of the tourism crisis will also depend a great deal on

what happens in the weeks to come. If further actions are confined to

a single region of the world, there would be less repercussion," he



Three main factors are currently wreaking havoc on the tourism

industry: lack of consumer confidence in the safety of air travel;

uncertainty about the near future; and weakening of the global economy

in recent months.


"The Gulf Crisis was very different, so we cannot take our evaluation

directly from those years. In this case it is the United States that

is most affected and the United States is the number one tourism power

in terms of international receipts, domestic tourism and international

spending," he said.

"It is true that Americans are worried about travelling, but US

outbound represents only 13% of the world total and experience has

shown that tourists from other big generating markets such as Germany,

the UK and Japan will continue to travel. They may divert their

holidays to different parts of the world that are perceived as safer

or stay closer to home, but they will still travel," he added.

"More significantly, the United States is the largest economy in the

world in terms of GDP, so what happens there has profound consequences

for the economies of the rest of the world," he said. During the first

eight months of 2001, world tourism was on track for an increase of 2.

5-3%, following an extraordinary growth rate of 7.4 per cent in the

millennium year 2000. Barring widespread new developments, 2001 should

still see positive growth for tourism, albeit at a slightly slower

rate of 1.5-2%. Global tourism generated US$476 billion last year.

"Not only are many tourists and business travellers-especially in the

United States-postponing their trips, there are additional costs for

the industry as it increases and improves security," said Mr.

Frangialli. "Tourism businesses are seeing their profits squeezed

between declining activity, the cost of new security measures and the

increasing price of oil."

But he said world markets are over-reacting when it comes to losses

in the share prices of airlines and tourism companies.


"We shouldn't jump to conclusions," Mr. Frangialli said. "We have

learned from experience that the tourism industry recovers very

quickly from adversity."

International air passengers declined during the Gulf War, from 280

million in 1990 to 266 million in 1991, but tourist arrivals crept up

by 1.2% and receipts increased by 2.1%.

"Despite all the conflicts we've had in the world over the past 50

years, there has never been one year that experienced a decline in

tourism," said Mr. Frangialli.

WTO is also preparing to celebrate World Tourism Day on 27 September.

The host of this year's celebration is Iran and the theme is Tourism:

a Tool for Peace and Dialogue among Civilizations-a focus now more

necessary and appropriate than ever.

For more information, please contact:

Deborah Luhrman / Alla Peressolova

WTO Press and Communications

Tel. (34) 91-567-8100

Fax (34) 91-567-8218



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