Travel & Tourism drives economic growth

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One in five of all new jobs created globally in 2017 are attributable to Travel & Tourism, says major new research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)

WTTC’s annual Economic Impact Research, released today, shows that Travel & Tourism was responsible for the creation of 7 million new jobs worldwide. The report also shows 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).

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO 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.”

For the seventh consecutive year, the Travel & Tourism sector has outperformed the global economy and in 2017 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%).

In 2017, Travel & Tourism’s direct, indirect and induced impact accounted for:

US$8.3 trillion contribution to global GDP (10.4%)
313 million jobs, 1 in 10 jobs around the world
US$1.5 trillion exports (6.5% of total exports, 28.8% of global services exports)
US$882 billion investment (4.5% of total investment)

Ms Guevara continued, “2017 was the best year on record for the Travel & Tourism sector. We have seen increased spending as a result of growing consumer confidence, both domestically and internationally, recovery in markets in North Africa and Europe previously impacted by terrorism and continued outbound growth from China and India. This is great news for the millions of people who depend on our sector for their livelihoods.”

Highlights from around the world include:

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 North East Asia growing at 7.4% and South East Asia at 6.7%. China continues to lead the way at 9.8%. Over the next ten 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.

Ms Guevara added “As our sector continues to become more important both as a generator of GDP and jobs, our key challenge will be ensuring this growth is sustainable and inclusive. Going forward we need to ensure that growth is planned for, well managed and includes partnerships between not only the public and private sectors but also includes communities themselves. There is a huge potential for governments to capitalise on the opportunities Travel & Tourism brings to create new jobs, especially in those economies where many jobs in other sectors are under threat from automation. Travel & Tourism is the best partner for governments to create jobs.”

About WTTC: The World Travel & Tourism Council is the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism. It promotes sustainable growth for the sector, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity. Every year WTTC, together with Oxford Economics, produces its flagship Economic Impact Report, which looks at the socioeconomic benefits of Travel & Tourism on global, regional and country level. This year the report shows data on 25 regional groupings and 185 countries.

Travel & Tourism is a key driver for investment and economic growth globally. The sector contributes US$8.3 trillion or 10.4% of global GDP, once all direct, indirect and induced impacts are taken into account. The sector also accounts for 313 million jobs or one in ten of all jobs on the planet.

For over 25 years, WTTC has been the voice of this industry globally. Members are the Chairs, Presidents and Chief Executives of the world’s leading, private sector Travel & Tourism businesses, who bring specialist knowledge to guide government policy and decision-making, and raise awareness of the importance of the sector.

WTTC’s annual Global Summit brings together over 900 delegates to discuss the opportunities, challenges and issues facing the industry, while its Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognise the industry’s power to be a positive force in sustainability. This year, the Summit will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 18-19 April.

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