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The World Travel and Tourism Council released it’s annual economic impact report this morning and it argues that the travel industry has had yet another strong year.
According to the WTTC’s numbers, travel — made up of airlines, airports, hospitality, cruise lines, and tech players large and small — contributed 9.5% of the world’s economy in 2013. The organization exists to produce these kinds of hard numbers that connect the dots across the sectors that make up the industry.
The stats are impressive, with the total economic impact rounding out to $7 trillion, “Not only outpacing the wider economy, but also growing faster than other significant sectors such as financial and business services, transport and manufacturing,” the report reads. “In total, nearly 266 million jobs were supported by Travel & Tourism in 2013 – 1 in 11 of all jobs in the world.
The report is supported by research partner Oxford Economics. Figures are based on direct, indirect, and induced economic impact.
The WTTC also used the opportunity to advocate for smarter visa policies around the world. “Travel and tourism’s contribution to the world economy has grown for the fourth consecutive year and is expected to show even stronger growth in 2014,” the report begins. “But policies need to be implemented to increase tourism receipts and jobs.”
David Scowsill, President and CEO of WTTC, said, “Some countries have taken huge positive strides with visa facilitation over the past few years. But many countries’ economic contribution from travel and tourism is still being held back, particularly due to restrictive visa policies.”
Where Its Coming From
This growth isn’t coming out of the U.S. and Europe, it’s coming from the new economies. “It is clear that the growth in travel and tourism demand from emerging markets continues with pace,” reads the report “As large rising middle-classes, especially from Asia and Latin America, are willing and more able than ever to travel both within and beyond their borders.”
Ironically, it’s these countries that find it harder to travel because of visa restrictions. Research in 2012 from the WTTC and the UN World Tourism Organisation argued that improving visa processes could generate an additional $206 billion in tourism receipts and create as many as 5.1 million jobs by 2015 in the G20 economies.
Mr Scowsill says there is real momentum in some countries with visa facilitation but there is still a lot to do; “To capitalise on, rather than thwart, travel and tourism’s potential to boost visitors, spend and jobs, we would encourage countries to implement progressive approaches to visas, which make it easier for people to travel.”
According to the WTTC Economic Impact Report, in 2013:
- Travel & Tourism continues to outperform the wider economy in terms of economic growth (3% vs. 2%)
- Travel & Tourism not only outpaced the wider economy, but also grew faster than other significant industries such as financial and business services, retail and distribution, public services, transport and manufacturing.
- 4.7 million new jobs were created as a result of tourism activity
- Visitor exports, the measure of money spent by international tourists, exceeded expectations rose by 4% to US$1.3trillion and by more than 10.2% within South East Asia.
- South East Asia leads the pack in terms of both total Travel & Tourism economic and employment growth at 7.9% and 4.1% respectively.
- In Europe, both total Travel & Tourism GDP and employment growth have exceeded expectations, boosted by strong demand from long-haul markets.
- There was particularly strong expenditure growth from travellers of China, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and Egypt in 2013 to other destinations.
- At 8.3%, China is expected to grow the most of any G20 country in 2014.
The full report is here: