Sparking Travel Growth: PATA and WTTC Join Forces With APEC

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group (APEC) has approved groundbreaking research to be conducted in partnership with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The study will address key barriers to tourism growth in the region and will be launched this year.

“A proliferation of taxes and other surcharges on travellers, visa restrictions, ill-thought out environmental and other legislation, inadequate infrastructure and transport access, as well as constraints on workforce mobility, capital flows and access to capital – these are some of thejor industry groups want to stimulatee moree group said.

Travel and tourism is widely recognized as a major engine for future economic growth within the economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping, the World Travel and Tourism Council notes in its analysis of the region. In 2010, the APEC economies collectively attracted over 40 percent total international arrivals worldwide and generated more than 40 percent of world visitor exports.

The latest research from WTTC, carried out in collaboration with Oxford Economics, suggests that the APEC region’s visitor exports will increase by four to five percent per annum over the next 10 years, rising to $750-billion by 2021, or a four per cent share of APEC’s total exports.

Travel and tourism contributes close to three per cent of APEC’s GDP, or a projected $990-billion in 2011, as well as supporting 45-million jobs – three per cent of total employment. And if the indirect and induced impacts of travel and tourism are factored into the calculations, the total contribution is almost three times greater. Moreover, both the direct and total contributions of travel and tourism to GDP and employment are forecast to rise strongly over the coming decade.

“While this is good reason for optimism, it will be critical to make every effort going forward to ensure that the potential is fully tapped,” said Helen Marano, director, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, US Department of Commerce.

“The political, economic and operating environments must all be conducive to growth, so that travel and tourism can stimulate and facilitate private sector enterprise and investment, stimulate exports and foreign exchange, generate new jobs, and create new business opportunities,” Marano added. “And this is something we can only achieve in partnership with the private sector.”

Recognizing that the only way of overcoming these obstacles is to establish a true dialogue between the public and private sectors, APEC has approved groundbreaking research to be conducted in partnership with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

With the aim of achieving concrete outcomes, aligning closely with APEC’s overall strategic priorities – such as capacity building, regional economic integration, and regulatory co-operation and convergence – the new study, Creating Business Growth Opportunities for Travel and Tourism in the New APEC Economy, will involve consultation with governments, experts and industry leaders, such as members of PATA and WTTC, in order to identify business opportunities to create an enabling environment that will drive sustainable tourism growth.

The research will provide concrete, solutions-based recommendations to drive collective action by APEC, as well as to inform individual action plans by APEC member economies. The findings and recommendations of the study will be launched in mid-2011.

Said John Koldowski, deputy CEO and head of Office of Strategy Management, PATA: “This is a significant study since it dovetails the needs of investors in tourism throughout the APEC region with those of the policy-makers who are mandated with increasing the well-being of their various communities – in a manner that promotes long-term sustainable and equitable development.”

“We look forward to working with APEC and PATA to address these key issues facing the travel and tourism industry,” said David Scowsill, president and CEO, WTTC.

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