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El Turismo Internacional en una Era de Cambio

Tourism is an activity of major economic importance. In 2009 it exported 2,700 million dollars a day. That same year, international tourism experienced a decline in arrivals of 4.2 per cent. It is the highest decrease recorded since 1950. International tourism has previously decreased only three times: 1982 (-0.1%), 1991 (-0.3%) and 2003 (-1.5%). It is a significant correction to the trend that international tourism has been experiencing in a sustained way. Tourism is vulnerable, but resilient. Going back to the historical growth path in which tourism was placed will take time and will certainly require renewed management criteria. The economic and social framework which has been taken shape in recent months creates a new environment that requires, more than ever, a reflection on the course tourism development should follow. The year 2008 showed a turning point in the mid-year. In its first six months, international tourism grew by 6 percent, but declined in subsequent months. 2009 consolidated the decline of international tourism in all regions except Africa. Preliminary data show the resilience and, in many cases, the growth of domestic tourism. Tourists continued to travel but closer to home and adopted more conservative expenditure behaviour. By 2010 the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) expects international demand to grow by 4% or even some more. The market has become more rigid, much more competitive and more dependent on local markets as well as on some emerging ones. This article deals with current characteristics of tourism and examines its evolution between 2008 and 2010, with emphasis on the Caribbean.

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