Europe operators see upturn

The European travel trade has high hopes for inbound arrivals in 2005, according to a survey of tour operators and hoteliers conducted by the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) at its recent Hoteliers Marketplace forum in London.

Optimism is returning and client perceptions of Europe are improving, said Tom Jenkins, executive director of the ETOA, after the event.

Backing up that claim, 83% of the 300 buyer and seller attendees polled at the marketplace said they expect business this year to surpass 2004 levels; nearly half predicted they would see growth in excess of 10%.

Eighty-seven percent said clients opinions of Europe were either the same or more positive than one year ago, and only 5% said opposition to the Iraq war had a significant impact on business.

On the down side, the European trades optimism does not extend to visitor spending, with 80% predicting that clients visiting from overseas would spend the same or less this year. Further, the ever-weakening U.S. dollar topped the list of potential threats to a recovery for inbound European tourism, just ahead of fears of terrorist attacks.


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