The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) believes that Travel & Tourism is set for a milestone year in 2012. According to its latest research, the industry’s direct contribution to the global economy should exceed US$2 trillion in GDP and 100 million jobs this year. This contribution to GDP would represent a growth of 2.8%, marginally faster than the global rate of economic growth, predicted to be 2.5%.
When the wider economic impacts of the industry are taken into account, Travel & Tourism is forecast by WTTC and its research partner Oxford Economics to contribute some US$6.5 trillion to the global economy and generate 260 million jobs – or 1 in 12 of all jobs in the world.
At yesterday morning’s press conference, David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC, said that Travel & Tourism’s total economic contribution in 2011, taking account of its direct, indirect and induced impacts, was US$6.3 trillion in GDP, 255 million jobs, US$743 billion in investment and US$1.2 trillion in exports. This contribution represented 9% of GDP, 1 in 12 jobs, 5% of investment and 5% of exports.
Over the medium term, the prospects of the industry are even more positive with average annual growth expected to be 4% through to 2022 by which time Travel & Tourism will employ 328 million people – or 1 in 10 of all jobs on the planet.
David Scowsill continued: “It is clear that the Travel & Tourism industry is going to be a significant driver of global growth and employment for the next decade. Our industry is responsible for creating jobs, pulling people out of poverty, and broadening horizons. It is one of the world’s great industries”.
Other selected highlights from the research show:
• South and Northeast Asia will be the fastest-growing regions in 2012 (+6.7%), driven by countries such as India and China where rising incomes will generate an increase in domestic tourism spend and a sharp upturn in capital investment, as well as a recovery in Japan.
• After an extremely challenging 2011 when civil unrest and violence had a dramatic impact on demand for Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, North Africa is showing signs of recovery in 2012 with Travel & Tourism direct GDP growth forecast at 3.6%. Morocco (8.3%) will be the star performer of this region as negative perceptions of security continue to affect tourism in Egypt and Tunisia
• In the Middle East , where civil unrest and violence in some countries continues, growth will be more subdued (3%), although there are stark differences at country level. Qatar will grow fastest at 13.2% while Syria will likely see another dramatic fall, projected at 20.5%, as the political situation worsens, increasing concerns over security. It is worth noting that 14% of all international arrivals in the Middle East in 2010 were for Syria, the second most important destination in the region after Saudi Arabia.
• The mature economies of North America and Europe will continue to struggle in 2012. North America , which saw a slight upturn in the USA’s economic situation at the end of 2011, should see growth of only 1.3% in Travel & Tourism direct GDP over the year.
• The prospects for Travel & Tourism growth in Europe in 2012 are precarious. Current forecasts suggest a 0.3% increase in Travel & Tourism direct GDP for the region overall, but this will be propped up by newer economies such as Poland and, of course, Russia. A decline of 0.3% is expected across the European Union . Consumer spending is set to tighten as austerity measures kick in, and there continues to be considerable uncertainty around the future of the eurozone and the peripheral economies of Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal.