Asia Slump Called 'Two-Year Blip'

MANILA, Philippines -- The time frame for a modest Asian tourism and economic recovery is about two years, David J. de Villiers, deputy secretary-general for the World Tourism Organization, told delegates to the PATA conference here.

The official of the Madrid, Spain-based organization predicted the economic situation would be a "two-year blip" and said that a resumption of strong tourism growth rates in the region would be seen between the years 2000 and 2010.

Tourism arrivals slumped in 1997, when the number of visitors to Hong Kong fell 11.1% and international tourism receipts dropped by 14.7%. In South Korea, tourism receipts dropped by 4.2%, and by 1.9% in Malaysia.

The Asia-Pacific region had been enjoying double-digit growth rates for more than a decade, according to the WTO.

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