Following an estimated increase of about 6% in visitor arrivals during the first 8/9 months of this year, the World Tourism Organisation is still expecting that the increase for the whole year will be 5-6%.

This would be slower that the 10.7% growth in 2004, but that was boosted by recovery, particularly in Asia Pacific, by the SARS-pandemic-induced slowdown in 2003.

In fact, 5-6% growth would also be above WTO’s forecast longterm average annual growth rate of 4%.

The WTO notes in particular growth in business travel and longhaul travel. However, some observers believe that longhaul travel could be negatively affected by fuel surcharges.

Faced by surcharges of more than US$100 for inter-continental travel, certain leisure travel may stay within the region of the traveller – until surcharges fall, or the markets become accustomed to them.