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Travel Bosses Target the 'Funemployed'

by VR Sreeraman on  November 10, 2009 at 4:13 PM Lifestyle News   - G J E 4
US tourism chiefs are targeting credit-crunched jobless people with time on their hands, the so-called "funemployed", while in Asia golfing holidays are booming, notably in China, a study said.
  • Africa is cashing in on Barack Obama-inspired "roots tourism"
  • Golf holidays are booming in China
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Africa is cashing in on Barack Obama-inspired "roots tourism," while the Middle East could see a surge in women-only hotels, added the Global Trends Report, released at the start of the World Travel Market industry event.

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In the United States, which triggered last year's global financial near-meltdown, the travel trade is pinning its hopes on the "funemployed" to keep the industry afloat.

"Some are embracing their situation by becoming 'funemployed'... Most have severance packages to cushion the blow and more than half... are under 35, mainly single, without children or a mortgage," said the survey's authors.

"The funemployed serve as a target for extended trips, world cruises and long haul airline tickets, and a means to boost off-season occupancy rates," added trend spotter Euromonitor International.

But in Asia, which is leading the world out of the downturn, travel bosses are looking to a more traditional source of income.

"Asians are crazy about golf and the recession has done little to curb their enthusiasm... Rapid economic growth in China has created a new elite class jump-starting demand for golf," said the survey, adding that China ranks fifth in the world with around 310 golf courses and hundreds more in the pipeline.

Africa is hoping to benefit from the "Obama effect", saying the US leader's recent trip to Ghana "put Africa under the international tourism spotlight.

"Africa is benefiting from roots tourism, still largely unknown to many core markets with the potential to boost economic prosperity in local African communities," it said.

In the Middle East there is an expanding market for "a growing number of young women who have developed an interest in travelling, though in some Muslim countries it is frowned upon by Arab society.

"Female-only lodging therefore makes travel possible without a mandatory male escort. This will also appeal to Western women, given the widespread negative perceptions of women travelling alone in the Middle East."

Source: AFP
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