The tourist industries in Spain and Portugal have hardly been affected at all by the dramatic reduction in tourism since the US terror attacks. A report says the UK and Ireland have been hardest hit in Europe. The European Commission says the volume of visitors to both countries from the US, Japan and the Middle East has dropped by one third. The downturn in air travel has been matched by a huge drop in cultural and sight–seeing trips. The report says there has also been widespread cancellations of business conferences and “incentive travel” packages. EU capitals and major cities are far worse hit than the regions, but the UK and Ireland are feeling the pinch most because of their traditionally high volume of American and also Japanese visitors. The impact on the cruise industry in Europe is equally severe. The report to EU governments and the European Parliament marks the start of a Commission bid to talk up the European Union's vital tourism sector in the wake of September 11. The report says Europe is the most visited tourist region in the world with the “greatest diversity and density” of visitor attractions on any continent.


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