Travel and tourism generated one in 10 of the world’s jobs in 2016, according to a new report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
WTTC’s Economic Impact Report 2017, which is conducted in conjunction with Oxford Economics, researches the economic impact of travel & tourism across 25 regions, and 185 countries.
According to the research, travel and tourism grew by 3.3 per cent in 2016, generating $7.6 trillion worldwide. That is 10.2 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) when the direct, indirect and induced impacts are taken into account. The sector supported a total of 292 million jobs in 2016, which is 1 in 10 of all jobs in the world.
Additionally, global visitor exports, which is money spent by foreign visitors, accounted for 6.6 per cent of total world exports, and almost 30 per cent of total world services exports.
David Scowsill, president and CEO of the WTTC, said this is the sixth year in a row that travel and tourism has outpaced the global economy, showing the sector’s resilience, and the eagerness of people to continue to travel and discover new places, despite economic and political challenges across the world.
"The continuous growth of our sector underlines the significance of business and leisure travel in driving economic development and job creation throughout the world,” said Scowsill.
Southeast Asia (8.3 per cent) was the region with the fastest growing travel and tourism sector in 2016, driven by the expanding Chinese outbound market and the countries' own growing markets. Latin America (0.2 per cent) was the slowest growing region. Some countries performed well above the world average, but the Brazilian economy dragged down the whole region.
The other regions registered the following growth: South Asia (7.9 per cent), North East Asia (4.6 per cent), Oceania (4.4 per cent), the Caribbean (3.2 per cent), North America (3.1 per cent), the Middle East (2.7 per cent), sub-Saharan Africa (2.4 per cent) and Europe (1.6 per cent).
South Africa was one of the top performers in the region during 2016:
Travel and tourism is expected to grow by 3.8 per cent in 2017, generating $7.9 trillion. This growth is slower than previously forecast, as a result of a downgrade to the global economy and a dampening of consumer spending.
Over the next decade the sector is forecast to grow at an average of 3.9 per cent per year. By 2027 it will generate more than 11 per cent of the world’s GDP and employ a total of 380 million people. One quarter of all jobs created in the next decade will be supported by travel and tourism.
“The future prospects for travel and tourism are good, but the sector continues to face challenges," said Scowsill. "The impact of terrorism and the rise of populism pose a severe risk to the ability of people to travel efficiently and securely. The sector itself needs urgently to address the impact of growth on destinations and its own contribution to climate change if it is to be sustainable in the long term."
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