May 01 2012
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Global industry upbeat on 1b expected arrivals this year
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Dubai More than one billion international arrivals (travel trips) are expected this year, up from 980 million in 2011, a top global tourism official told Gulf News.
“Which means a seventh of the mankind would have travelled this year,” Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), told Gulf News in an interview at the Arabian Travel Market.
The four-day mega travel and tourism exhibition and conference kicks off today at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Not a luxury anymore
India’s Airport Economic Regulatory Authority recently decided to increase airport charges by 346 per cent, causing furore among the airline community.
Similarly, the European Union’s imposition of the Carbon Emission Tax has also come under heavy criticism by aviation watchdog the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
“Despite the global economic and political challenges, we had a good year last year, recording 4.4 per cent growth to 980 million — just 20 million short of the one billion figure. This year, we hope to cross that figure,” Rifai said.
Tony Tyler, IATA director-general, said: “Governments and industry share a common interest in aviation’s success. Aviation is a business and a driver of economic and social development that is vitally important to governments.”
“About three billion people fly annually. And the nearly 50 million tonnes of cargo transported by air represents some 35 per cent of the value of goods traded internationally. Regulation that is neither coordinated nor mutually recognised brings a high cost of compliance without corresponding benefits, while maintaining restrictions on airlines’ access to global capital and to markets has kept airlines financially weak.”
The Arab Spring has badly affected the tourism industry of the Middle East and North Africa.
“We have lost seven million visitors in the region last year due to the Arab Spring,” Rifai said.
By Saifur Rahman ?Business Editor
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