The global tourism sector will post a "moderate recovery" in 2010 following a slump this year due to the recession, with Asia set for the strongest rebound, the UN World Tourism Organisation said Tuesday.
"International tourist arrivals are likely to witness a moderate recovery next year, with growth at one to three percent," the Madrid-based body said in its latest bulletin.
"Asia will show the strongest rebound, while Europe and the Americas will probably take longer to recover."
It based its outlook for next year on the improvement in international tourism figures recorded in recent months and the better-than-expected economic indicators in some key source markets.
For 2009, the inter-governmental body predicted a five percent decline in international tourism arrivals.
During the first eight months of the year it estimates international tourism arrivals worldwide dropped by around seven percent over the previous year to a total of 600 million arrivals.
But arrivals in the two high-season months of July and August declined by three percent compared with a decrease of eight percent in the first half of the year, and the available data for September point to a continuation of this upward trend.
The UN tourism body's secretary general, Taleb Rifai, said "seldom in recorded tourism history has the industry had to contend with so many different issues at the same time.
"Throughout this year, the world?s tourism industry was faced with a large number of challenges, led by the global economic crisis, the credit crunch and rising unemployment, not to mention the influenza pandemic," he said in a statement.
"However, the negative trend that emerged during the second half of 2008 and intensified in 2009 is starting to show signs of receding," he added.
International tourism arrivals rose 1.9 percent in 2008 over the previous year to 922 million, according to the UN body.