ETC: Europe's share of U.S. visitors down a bit

NEW YORK -- Despite feeling the effects of the Sept. 11 travel slide more than other destinations, Europe's overall market share of overseas travel by Americans slipped marginally last year, the European Travel Commission said, from 48.9% to 48.1%.

The ETC noted that, prior to the terror attacks, travel to the Continent last year was running 2.9% ahead of 2000.

Meanwhile, according to figures released this month by the U.S. Commerce Department, last year's 7.5% decline in U.S. travel to Europe, to 12.1 million departures, was a little more precipitous than the 6% total overseas travel decline to 25.2 million departures.

Among the gainers in market share were the Caribbean and Far East/Oceania, which each added 1% in market share, to 18.4% and 17.6%, respectively.

All other regions, including Central and South America, the Middle East and Africa, together gained nearly 2.6% of the U.S. travel market, climbing to 15.9% overall.

"While U.S. travel to Europe was adversely affected more than that to other regional destinations, the difference is very small," said Einar Gustavsson, ETC chairman in the U.S. and director for the Americas at the Icelandic Tourist Board in New York.

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