President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Jean-Claude Baumgarten, today called on the U.S. government to work in partnership with the private sector of travel and Tourism for the long-term sustainability of the industry.
"The last months have been increasingly challenging," Baumgarten said. "And we clearly haven't seen the end of it yet."
According to WTTC's latest research, conducted in collaboration with Oxford Economics, and which is due to be launched March 12 at ITB Berlin, the travel and tourism economy's contribution to GDP in the U.S. is currently expected to decline by 4.2 percent in 2009 to $1,357 billion. The number of jobs directly in the industry and in related sectors of the economy is forecast to fall 4.4 percent to 13.8 million, a loss of more than 1 million across the country.
"But this in no way undermines travel and tourism's economic importance to the U.S.," Baumgarten stressed. "Despite the decline due to the present economic crisis, its contribution to total GDP will still be around 9.5 percent in 2009 - above the global average - and it should account for an estimated 9.7 percent of national employment, as against a 7.6% share worldwide."
According to WTTC's research, the country's travel and tourism economy GDP is predicted to grow by 3.5 percent per annum between 2009 and 2019, to $2,358 billion, or 9.8 percent of total GDP, with travel and tourism economy employment growth forecast at 1.2 percent over the same period to 15.6 million - 10.1 percent of total employment in the U.S.