World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC’s) annual Economic Impact Research, released last month, shows that travel and tourism was responsible for the creation of seven million new jobs worldwide. The report also shows that 2017 was a bumper year for the global travel and tourism sector, which grew at 4.6 per cent, 50 per cent faster than the global economy as a whole (3 per cent growth during 2017).
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president & CEO, said: “Travel and tourism creates jobs, drives economic growth and helps build better societies. Our research shows that our sector was responsible for the creation of one in five of all jobs globally. In the last few years, governments around the world are realising the extraordinary benefits of tourism and I congratulate them for taking steps to maximise our sector’s potential.”
For the seventh consecutive year, the travel and tourism sector has outperformed the global economy and in 2017 was the fastest-growing broad economic sector globally, showing stronger growth than all sectors including manufacturing (4.2 per cent), retail and wholesale (3.4 per cent), agriculture, forestry and fisheries (2.6 per cent) and financial services (2.5 per cent).
In 2017, travel and tourism’s direct, indirect and induced impact accounted for $8.3 trillion contribution to global GDP (10.4 per cent); 313 million jobs, one in 10 jobs around the world; $1.5 trillion exports (6.5 per cent of total exports, 28.8 per cent of global services exports); and $882 billion investment (4.5 per cent of total investment).
Guevara continued: “2017 was the best year on record for the travel and tourism sector. We have seen increased spending as a result of growing consumer confidence, both domestically and internationally, recovery in markets in North Africa and Europe previously impacted by terrorism and continued outbound growth from China and India. This is great news for the millions of people who depend on our sector for their livelihoods.”
Europe’s performance was better than previously expected with 4.8 per cent growth as long-haul demand recovered strongly, accompanied by strong intra-regional travel thanks to the strength of the European economy. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2017, European airlines recorded passenger growth of 8.1 per cent and over one billion passengers for the first Time.
Travel and tourism’s contribution to GDP in North Africa grew by 22.6 per cent in 2017, showing a strong rebound from the impacts of terrorism in previous years. Stellar performance from Egypt (72.9 per cent) and solid growth in Tunisia (7.6 per cent) inspire confidence in the region as tourism activity continues to recover to pre-attack levels.
Asian countries continue to drive global tourism growth with North East Asia growing at 7.4 per cent and South East Asia at 6.7 per cent. China continues to lead the way at 9.8 per cent. Over the next ten years over one third of absolute GDP growth and nearly half of employment growth will be generated by China and India.
Latin America showed a decline of 1.4 per cent in tourism GDP, largely a result of a contraction in international spend to the largest Latin American economy, Brazil, of 18.1 per cent compared to 2016, and compounded by the ongoing political and economic problems in Venezuela.
Forecasts for 2018 suggest that growth will continue, albeit at a slower rate than in 2017 as a result of higher oil prices.
The long-term outlook to 2028 remains unchanged, with average growth of 3.8 per cent per year over the next decade. However, by 2028, travel and tourism is expected to support more than 400 million jobs globally, which equates to 1 in 9 of all jobs in the world; and the sector is expected to contribute around 25 per cent of global net job creation over the next decade.
Guevara added: “As our sector continues to become more important both as a generator of GDP and jobs, our key challenge will be ensuring this growth is sustainable and inclusive. Going forward, we need to ensure that growth is planned for, well managed and includes partnerships between not only the public and private sectors but also includes communities themselves. There is a huge potential for governments to capitalise on the opportunities travel and tourism brings to create new jobs, especially in those economies where many jobs in other sectors are under threat from automation. Travel and tourism is the best partner for governments to create jobs.”
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