According to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual autumn update to its Economic Impact research, GDP growth of 3.5% is forecast for the sector in 2015. This is slightly lower than the forecast at the beginning of the year, mostly due to weaker domestic spending.
Already this year, the sector has seen many regional incidents that have impacted the tourism economies throughout the world. These include the diseases of MERS in South Korea and Ebola in West Africa; natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Nepal and typhoons in the Philippines; terrorism attacks in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, France and Mali; political turmoil and continued unrest in Ukraine and Syria.
David Scowsill, President and CEO, WTTC, said: “Travel and tourism is a tremendously resilient sector. Despite a number of terrible regional incidents throughout the year, the sector will still grow 1% faster than global GDP in 2015.”
WTTC estimates that the sector’s total contribution to the world economy in 2015 will be US$7.8 trillion and it will support 284 million jobs across the globe, which underlines its enormous significance to the economy of the world. Visitor exports, which is money spent by foreign travelers, are forecast to grow by 2.9% percent in 2015, in line with the continuous growth of international travel.
South Asia is still expected to be the fastest growing travel and tourism region with 7.7% growth, which is heavily stimulated by the growth in India. Latin America is expected to be the slowest growing travel and tourism region, with a low-level growth of 1.7%. This is predominantly caused by the slowdown of the Brazilian economy, which is estimated to decline by 2.1% this year.
Over the next ten years, travel and tourism is anticipated to contribute US$11.3 trillion in GDP to the world economy and will support 355 million jobs worldwide. This equates to 1 in 10 jobs on the planet.