On Thursday, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)
revealed the results of its 2009 Economic Impact Research at its annual
ITB Berlin press conference in the presence of industry leaders from
different sectors of travel and tourism - high-level government
representatives, and its research partner Oxford Economics.
"This year, the task of assessing travel
and tourism trends and drawing up forecasts has been more challenging
than ever because of all the uncertainties," Jean-Claude Baumgarten, WTTC President & CEO,
said at the launch.
significant deterioration in travel and tourism activity through the
second half of 2008 and the bleak macroeconomic forecast for 2009,
WTTC's latest research shows that travel and tourism economy GDP
will contract by 3.6% in 2009. And it is expected to remain weak
in 2010 with only marginal growth, of less than 0.3%, currently
predicted - on what will already be a weak 2009.
fuel costs will make a difference," said Baumgarten, "as will
lower general inflation, which should reverse part of last year's
squeeze on households' spending power. But given how widespread
and deep the current recession is, it is inevitable that travel
and tourism will continue to be affected."
"Indeed, as a
relatively cyclical industry, its contribution to world GDP is
expected to fall further in the next two years - from 9.6% in 2008
to just over 9% in 2010," Oxford Economics' Managing Director,
Adrian Cooper, added. "Job losses are likely to be significant,
with employment falling by around 10 million over the next two
years towards 215 million in 2010, before recovering thereafter."
A key message from WTTC is that travel
and tourism is a major
contributor to job creation and poverty alleviation - "a fact that
policy-makers would do well to recognise and take into account in
their short- to medium-term strategies," said Baumgarten.
Baumgarten stressed, "The industry is not expecting a bail-out. It
needs a supportive framework from government to help it weather
the current storm. And governments would also do well to recognise
travel and tourism's potential to energise the economy once the
current crisis eases."
Corporate Travel to be Hit Hardest
Travel and tourism investment and corporate travel are expected to be the
hardest hit this year. Real investment spending is forecast to
decline by 5% in 2009 and a further 1.25% in 2010.
Residents' travel and tourism spending is likely to be the least
affected, but even here a decline of 2.75% is projected for 2009,
despite the substitution of domestic for some foreign travel.
Travel and tourism's contribution to GDP and jobs will still
be positive longer term "nevertheless," said Baumgarten, "looking beyond the current crisis,
travel and tourism
is expected to resume its leading role in driving global growth,
creating jobs and alleviating poverty."
are expected to be the main engines of growth," Baumgarten added,
"generating hundreds of millions of new travellers from among the
growing middle classes in countries like China, India and Brazil -
boosting international travel, but also creating an increasingly
vibrant domestic tourism sector."
In developed countries,
the increasing priority given to leisure activities can be
expected to enhance demand for travel to existing and new tourism
destinations once consumers regain confidence, while the
popularity of short breaks - both domestic and international -
will continue to expand in the medium to longer term.
Overall, the travel and tourism Economy is forecast to grow by 4%
per annum in real terms over the next ten years. By 2019, travel
and tourism will account for 275 million jobs, representing 8.4% of
total employment across the world.
"This means that travel and
tourism will continue growing in importance as one of the
world's highest priority industries and employers," Baumgarten
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