ETC downsizes its forecast of U.S. arrivals

NEW YORK -- The European Travel Commission revised its forecast for U.S. arrivals this year, citing the slowing U.S. economy and hoof-and-mouth disease's impact on travel to Great Britain.

The ETC now is projecting that U.S. traffic will rise 2% this year over 2000, compared with 4% growth for the year that had been forecast in the spring.

The British Tourist Authority expects a downturn in U.S. visitors of between 10% and 20%. Last year, the U.K. accounted for about 30% of U.S. travel to Europe.

However, strong U.S. traffic increases of more than 5% are being reported by the tourist boards of France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland, an ETC spokesman said.

"Overall, we still project growth," said Einar Gustavsson, ETC chairman.

"Prices are very attractive, thanks to the strong dollar and reasonable air fares. But if the [U.S.] economy does not bounce upward soon, we will have to work harder to maintain traffic through this fall," he said.

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