THEUK'soutbound travel industry was achieving healthy growth in early 1999, but the start of the war in Kosovo undermined its success.
Figures released by the Aviation and Travel Consultancy, an independent research company, show that outbound trips rose by 20% in January and 18% in February. However, by April the market had gone into reverse and business was down 8%.
In the first four months of 1999, an estimated 9.1m outbound trips were taken overall, an increase of 5% on the previous year.
Aviation and Travel Consultancy director Ian Dockreay said: "There was dramatic growth for the first two months but it seemed to tail off. One can draw a number of conclusions. We feel there was an impact by the war in the Balkans. There was also an early Easter."
However, he pointed out that business was still ahead compared with 1998.
Meanwhile, outbound travellers spent £5.7bn on their trips in the first four months of 1999 - an 11% increase on the previous year. The most popular destinations for trips of four nights or more remain, in order, Spain, France, the US and Ireland. But the Caribbean has risen from seventh place in 1998 to fifth this year.
For trips of between one and three nights, France remains the top destination. Ireland and the Netherlands have both moved up a place to second and third respectively. The figures are based on interviews with 80,000 adults.
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