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Kenya tourism looks up

MADRID, Jul 3 – Kenya has been named as one of the few tourist destinations worldwide that see increased arrivals as the year progresses, according to the United Nations.

A statement from the UN World Tourism Organisation says the recovery of Kenya as one of leading Sub-Saharan destinations is part of positive results in Africa while the rest of the world looks to decline.

"The negative trend in international tourism that emerged during the second half of 2008 intensified in 2009," it said in a statement, adding economic growth prospects have been adjusted downwards repeatedly over the past six months.

The World Tourism Organisation revised its 2009 global tourism forecast down sharply due to worsening economic growth prospects and uncertainty over the impact of the swine flu.

Africa and South America are the only regions to buck the downward trend, posting increases of three percent and 0.2 percent respectively.

In the June edition of its "World Tourism Barometer", the Madrid-based body forecast international tourism would decrease between four and six percent this year. In January it had predicted a decline of between zero and two percent.

"There is additional uncertainty regarding the future of the influenza A(H1N1) virus and its effect on demand in the short to medium term," the statement added.

The International Monetary Fund was forecasting growth of over 2.0 percent for the world economy when the UN body issued its tourism forecast in January. The IMF is now forecasting a global economic contraction of 1.3 percent.

During the first four months of 2009, global tourism declined by 8.0 percent from the same period last year to 247 million international tourism arrivals, the UN body said in the statement.

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Europe posted a decline of 10 percent between January and April while Asia and the Pacific region saw a decline of 6.0 percent during the period.

International tourism arrivals rose 1.9 percent in 2008 over the previous year to 922 million.

France remained the world\’s top tourism destination that year with 79 million arrivals while the United States regained the second-place position which it lost to Spain after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

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