Gloomy forecasts for tourism, even during the Olympics

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The Independent Online

The leading travel and tourism organisation has severely reduced its 2011 and 2012 growth forecasts for the sector because of the eurozone crisis and the threat of US recession.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) believes global growth will be at 3.2 per cent this year and 3.3 per cent in 2012. In the WTTC's initial research in March, the forecasts were 4.5 and 5.1 per cent.

The report, to be released this week, stated: "Weak economic conditions and lowering expectations for short-term travel and tourism growth have led to downgrades to forecast growth ... across almost all regions."

In a separate study released today, the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) found that London is expected to suffer a 95 per cent slump in leisure tourism during next year's Olympic Games. Though operators are seeing a 60 per cent shortfall in London bookings during the rest of the year, it is bookings in the two weeks of the Games in the east of the capital that are set to cause them the biggest problems.

ETOA's executive director, Tom Jenkins, said: "Clients tend to think that an [Olympic host] city has priorities other than being a place to visit for a normal holiday."

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