There are no quick or easy fixes to the current crisis, which was many years in the making, and the situation is almost certain to get worse before it gets better.

As a result, experts gathered in Pisa for the 16th World Travel Monitor Forum agreed that, whether in terms of international tourist arrivals or trip volume, 2009 will be at best be a year of stagnation, and more probably will show a slight global decrease of one or two percent. Europe and North America will probably suffer the most from the point of view of travel and tourism demand, with results at the lower end of the forecast scale. Business travel might suffer more than leisure travel.

But the forecast is not only one of doom and gloom. Some parts of the world, notably Asia Pacific and Latin America, could see the start of a recovery before the end of 2009, thanks to sustained demand from a number of emerging markets, especially China and India. This will nevertheless be more likely to benefit short- haul destinations, at the expense of long-haul points.

Meanwhile, opinions on 2010 are mixed. There is no doubt that one of the main driving factors of the recovery will be the global economy, but other influences could also prove critical. But, given the rapidly changing situation, not to mention conflicting indicators and uncertainty about specific influences, the picture is very clouded, which makes it is almost impossible to predict with any assured degree of accuracy when that recovery might take place.

Get the full report at ITB Berlin (PDF 292 KB)