UNITED NATIONS—The U.N. World Tourism Organization says international tourism fell 8 percent between January and April compared to the same period last year, blaming the global financial crisis and the swine flu outbreak.
The UNWTO also revised its 2009 tourism forecast downward. It predicts tourism will decline by 4 percent to 6 percent this year, but says the decline’s pace should slow throughout the rest of the year.
In the first quarter, 269 million traveled abroad, compared with 247 million last year. All continents suffered a decrease except Africa, which recorded a 3 percent increase on the strength of the Mediterranean region and Kenya’s recovery as a popular destination.
Europe had the highest decline at 10 percent, followed by Asia and the Pacific at 6 percent and the Americas at 5 percent. The South American sub-region posted a slight increase of .2 percent.