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Travel and Tourism Needs More Policy Support

March 4, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent

While economic growth faces many challenges, the Travel & Tourism industry is still expected to be one of the world's fastest growing sectors, according to new Economic Impact Research for 2011 to 2021. Released by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the research reveals the power of Travel & Tourism to boost economic growth and employment.

"Travel & Tourism creates jobs, generates exports and stimulates investment. At a time of post-crisis global recovery, the industry is in a unique position to power sustainable growth around the globe, whether in mature economies emerging from recession or young emerging markets in the throes of rapid development. But it must have the clear support of governments and policy-makers if that potential is to be realized," says WTTC President and CEO, David Scowsill.

Sustaining last year's recovery, Travel & Tourism's contribution to GDP is bouncing back and set to grow by 4.5 percent in 2011, creating around three million new jobs this year. Worldwide it will be worth US$1.8 trillion, directly employing just over 99 million people. When the wider impacts of the industry are taken into account the figures rise to a total value of US$6 trillion (9.1 percent of GDP) and 258 million jobs (8.8 percent of total employment).

"Over the next ten years, Travel & Tourism's total contribution to GDP is forecast to rise by 4.2 percent to US$9.2 trillion, bringing with it 65 million new jobs. By 2021, 1 in 10 workers on the planet will be employed as a result of Travel & Tourism," continued David Scowsill.

This growth will be largely driven by rising living standards and new consumers - mainly from countries such as China and India - entering the market, boosting international travel and generating increasingly vibrant domestic tourism sectors, the WTTC says.

Foreign travellers' spending will continue to be vital to many nations' economic fortunes. These visitor exports are expected to grow by 6.6 percent per year, reaching $1.8 trillion in 2021. Industry investment - currently estimated at $652 billion - is forecast to double in real terms over the next decade to reach $1.5 trillion, with particularly rapid growth in emerging and developing economies.

However, economic challenges such as fiscal austerity and rising commodity prices mean that governments will need smarter policies to support the industry as it grows and seize its potential to create jobs, increase exports and stimulate investment, WTTC says.

Geoffrey Kent, Chairman of WTTC and Founder & Executive Chairman of leading luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent, comments: "WTTC's annual research proves that the direct contribution of Travel & Tourism is only a fraction of the industry's true worth. The research can help governments and business better understand the true power and potential of this industry to boost GDP, employment and exports, helping to drive economic growth. For that growth to be sustainable governments must work together with the industry towards smarter policies and legislation that will help Travel & Tourism to thrive."

To realize sustainable growth, WTTC is calling for policies that:
• minimize barriers to travel with efficient and transparent visa processes, taxation reflecting the export value of the industry, and rationalized and uniform security measures.
• facilitate investment to maintain and expand capacity in a sustainable way, and also underpin improvements in quality, competitiveness and productivity.
• support the human capital needs of the industry through appropriate skills development and employment legislation.

Undertaken in partnership with Oxford Economics, the world research report is one of a series for 181 countries and 20 country 'groupings'. Each also charts the value of business versus leisure, and domestic versus international travel. All the reports are available free online at


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By George Dooley | March 4, 2011
Abercrombie & Kent chairman believes WTTC's study proves value of travel and tourism.
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