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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Unhappy New Year!

ZURICH, Switzerland -- The world's travel industry faces its worst festive season since the Gulf War because of rocketing prices, a "fear of flying" and some firms' ban on millennium vacations, according to the head of Switzerland's biggest tour operator.

"As for every year, we [the industry] have been expecting good business for Christmas and the New Year," Kuoni chairman Hans Lerch said in an interview with the weekly newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft, published Wednesday.

"But this year it won't happen.

"Worldwide, it will be the worst Christmas season for 10 years," he was quoted as saying.

"The client was unwilling" to pay the prices that resulted from some hotels and operators raising prices and profit margins over the festive season, Lerch added.

Lerch also noted that many firms' senior employees, particularly in the service industry in wealthy countries, are unable to take vacations abroad this year as they have to be on hand to deal with any problems linked to the millennium computer bug.