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Worldwide tourism has continued its downward spiral in 2009. International tourist flights declined by 8 percent or so due to the global economic crisis, per a recent announcement from the World Tourism Organization (WTO).

“We are still living in a situation where the depth and the length off this economic challenge is not clear yet,”

According to WTO’s acting Secretary General Taleb Rifai report the situation we are living through economically is quite challenging and how deep it is due to go or how long it will last is not known at this time.

The organization, which stated 117+ million tourists that arrived, were registered for the first two months of the year this is 7.7 percent less than for the 1st two months of last year. That reduction is following a decrease of over 2 percent in the arrivals over the second half of 2008.

We have heard that Europe was the region most affected having suffered a decline of over 8 percent while the North America continent had a smaller reduction of just over 3 percent.

Rifai stated it is way too early to decide what effect if any the recent outbreak of swine or H1N1 flu could have, since it has happened too recently to have affected any of the normal indicators.

Considering events of the past concerning health risks, like the 2002 outbreak of severe acute respiratory disease also known as SARS, in Asia, that showed tourism is totally capable of recovering quickly once the issue is under control.

Rifai stated further that the World Tourism Organization is expecting international tourism to continue to decline through the end of the year, perhaps as much as 2 percent.

Recent figured do not include tourism receipts however these tend to follow the same statistics as the trends of the numbers in arrivals. In June, the full effects will be known and complete statistics will be able to be posted.

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