Marriott Calls for "Golden Age of Travel"

Marriott International has called for a “New Golden Age of Travel” in a study commissioned by the company that was released at the World Economic Forum. The study revealed that international travel is considered more important than the Internet, TV and movies or political diplomacy at stimulating the economy and breaking down cultural barriers.

The study, which was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland on behalf of Marriott, surveyed 1,100 global travelers and opinion leaders from Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. 96 percent of respondents believed travel and tourism stimulates the economy while 77 percent felt that “the more people experience other countries and cultures, the more peace will spread.”

“I believe we are entering a ‘Golden Age of Travel,’ where opportunities to do business and travel abroad are opening up like never before,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott International’s CEO-elect and current president. “Travel opens up your mind, your heart and your wallet. This survey shows it is also a powerful form of soft diplomacy in the world today.”

Sorenson’s call for a golden age comes a little more than a week after the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer forecasted that international tourism would reach 1 billion in 2012. At the same time, President Obama’s plan to increase travel to the U.S. and the subsequent outpouring of support from the travel industry have highlighted the travel sector’s importance to the economy. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the industry is predicted to contribute an extra 69 million net jobs by 2021, while the industry’s share of global GDP is forecast to rise by 4.2 percent annually to $9.226 trillion by 2021.

“We already knew that travel and tourism have a major impact on the economy, but now we also know that it can change people’s views worldwide,” says Mark Penn, CEO of Penn Schoen Berland and CEO of Burson-Marsteller.  “International travelers advance people’s understanding of different cultures and reinforce all that we as humans have in common with each other.”

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