LONDON, 23 March 2018: Tourism is a mega industry responsible for creating 7 million new jobs, worldwide, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual Economic Impact Research, released Thursday.
WTTC noted in the report that 2017 was a bumper year for the global travel & tourism sector, which grew at 4.6%, 50% faster than the global economy as a whole (3% growth during 2017).
For the seventh consecutive year, the travel & tourism sector has outperformed the global economy.
In 2017 it was the fastest growing broad economic sector globally, showing stronger growth than all sectors including manufacturing (4.2%), retail and wholesale (3.4%), agriculture, forestry and fisheries (2.6%) and financial services (2.5%).
WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara said: “Travel & tourism creates jobs, drives economic growth and helps build better societies. Our research shows that our sector was responsible for the creation of one in five of all jobs globally.
“In the last few years, governments around the world are realising the extraordinary benefits of tourism and I congratulate them for taking steps to maximise our sector’s potential.”
The report showed travel & tourism’s direct, indirect and induced impact accounted for a US$8.3 trillion contribution to global GDP (10.4%).
Europe’s performance was better than previously expected with 4.8% growth as long-haul demand recovered strongly, accompanied by strong intra-regional travel thanks to the strength of the European economy.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2017, European airlines recorded passenger growth of 8.1% and over 1 billion passengers for the first time.
Travel & tourism’s contribution to GDP in North Africa grew by 22.6% in 2017, showing a strong rebound from the impacts of terrorism in previous years. Stellar performance from Egypt (72.9%) and solid growth in Tunisia (7.6%) inspire confidence in the region as tourism activity continues to recover to pre-attack levels.
Asian countries continue to drive global tourism growth with Northeast Asia growing at 7.4% and Southeast Asia at 6.7%. China continues to lead the way at 9.8%. Over the next 10 years over one third of absolute GDP growth and nearly half of employment growth will be generated by China and India.
Latin America showed a decline of 1.4% in tourism GDP, largely a result of a contraction in international spend to the largest Latin American economy, Brazil, of 18.1% compared to 2016, and compounded by the ongoing political and economic problems in Venezuela.
Forecasts for 2018 suggest that growth will continue, albeit at a slower rate than in 2017 as a result of higher oil prices.
The long-term outlook to 2028 remains unchanged, with average growth of 3.8% per year over the next decade. However, by 2028, travel & tourism is expected to support more than 400 million jobs globally, which equates to 1 in 9 of all jobs in the world; and the sector is expected to contribute around 25% of global net job creation over the next decade.
While WTTC focuses on the economic benefits and job creation that appeals to governments plotting growth and full employment, critics point to “heavy tourism” its impact on the environment and the plight communities face when ‘overtourism’ rather than sustainable tourism takes precedence.