Travel and tourism generated US$7.6 trillion in 2016 – WTTC

09May 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Travel and tourism generated US$7.6 trillion in 2016 – WTTC
  • • WTTC says the outlook for the sector in 2017 remains robust and will continue to be at the forefront of wealth and employment creation in the global economy, despite the emergence of a number of challenging headwinds

Despite the ever-increasing and unpredictable shocks from terrorist attacks and political
instability, to health pandemics and natural disasters, the global travel and tourism (T&T) industry posted strong performance last year, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has said.

The CEO and president of the organization, David Scowsill, says in a new report that T&T continued to show its resilience in 2016, contributing direct GDP growth of 3.1 per cent and supporting six million net additional jobs in the sector.

He notes in the report that as one of the world’s largest economic sectors, travel and tourism creates jobs, drives exports, and generates prosperity across the world. He challenges governments to enact pro-growth travel policies that share benefits more equitably in order to foster a talent and business environment necessary to enable the industry to realise its potential.

“In total, travel and tourism generated US$7.6 trillion (16,729trn/-), which was 10.2 per cent of global GDP, and 292 million jobs in 2016, equivalent to one in 10 jobs in the global economy,” he notes in the recently released report.

“The sector accounted for 6.6 per cent of total global exports and almost 30 per cent of total global service exports,” he added.

Locally, the travel trade receipts rose by 11 per cent to about US$2.23 billion, as a result of increase in number of tourist arrivals. According to the Five Year’s Development Plan 2016-2021 for the sector, tourism in the country is anticipated to grow by 6.2 per cent, raise the GDP share up to 18.3 per cent, increase the share of total exports to 21.4 per cent and surge employment contribution by at least 12 per cent.

In the 2017 Travel and Tourism (T&T) Competitiveness Report, the World Economic Forum says Tanzania is among the top 100 markets in the world. The report puts international tourist arrivals in the country at 1.1 million with average receipts per arrival at US$2,020.5.

WEF estimates the local industry’s GDP at nearly US$2 billion and says 386,427 people are employed in the sector.

“Tanzania ranks 91st in 2017. It is home to one of the most impressive concentration of natural resources and wildlife globally, with its rich variety of landscapes. Yet international arrivals have flattened since 2012, when the country welcomed one million international visitors,” the report reads.

In recognition of the industry decisive role in the prosperity and wellbeing of the world, the United Nations has designated 2017 the International Year of Sustainable
Tourism for Development. WTTC says that the selection provides an enormous opportunity to further showcase the tremendous economic, social, cultural, environmental, and heritage value that the sector can bring.

Noting that right policies and investment decisions are only made with empirical evidence, WTTC notes that for over 25 years it has doing that through reports, quantifying the economic and employment impact of T&T industry. This year, the 2017 Annual Economic Reports cover 185 countries and 26 regions of the world, providing the necessary data on 2016 performance as well as unique 10-year forecasts on the sector’s potential.

The organization has it that for the sixth successive year, growth in travel and tourism outpaced that of the global economy, which grew by 2.5 per cent.

“Additionally in 2016, direct travel and tourism GDP growth not only outperformed the economy-wide growth recorded in 116 of the 185 countries covered by the annual economic impact research (including in major travel and tourism economies such as Australia, Canada, China, India, Mexico and South Africa), but it also was stronger than the growth recorded in the financial and business services, manufacturing, public services, retail and distribution, and transport sectors,” the report reads.

“The outlook for the travel and tourism sector in 2017 remains robust and will continue to be at the forefront of wealth and employment creation in the global economy, despite the emergence of a number of challenging headwinds. Direct travel and tourism GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 3.8 per cent, up from 3.1 per cent in 2016,” it adds.

“As nations seem to be looking increasingly inward, putting in place barriers to trade and movement of people, the role of T&T becomes even more significant, as an engine of economic development and as a vehicle for sharing cultures, creating peace, and building mutual understanding,” Scowsill said.

Over the longer term, he adds, growth of the travel and tourism sector will continue to be strong so long as the investment and development takes place in an open and sustainable manner. Enacting pro-growth travel policies that share benefits more equitable, he argues, can foster a talent and business environment necessary to enable Travel & Tourism to realise its potential.

In doing so, not only can we expect the sector to support over 380 million jobs by 2027, but it will continue to grow its economic contribution, providing the rationale for the further protection of nature, habitats, and biodiversity, he further notes.

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