Wed, 09 Mar 2005

From: AFP

EU tourism to grow 3.2% annually

LISBON: The tourism sector in the European Union is expected to expand an annual 3.2 percent in the next decade, with economically robust Britain showing healthy growth but France and Germany struggling, a leading tourism official said on Monday.

But the entire region will have to be more proactive in luring visitors from fast-growing markets in Asia, namely China and India, to ensure solid growth continues, Jean-Claude Baumgarten, president of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), told a news conference.

"Everyone is looking to get the biggest piece of that pie. The challenge for the EU is to be ready to attract visitors from these new markets," he said.

Tourism is expected to generate US$1.6 trillion in economic activity this year in the 25-member European Union, rising to $2.1 trillion by 2015, according to the WTTC, a London-based organization of travel industry chiefs. -- AFP