The travel industry will grow faster than the global economy this year, according to the latest World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) forecast.
The WTTC’s annual economic impact assessment predicts travel and tourism will grow by 3.7% worldwide this year against a global economic growth forecast of 2.9%.
The Council forecasts the sector’s total contribution to the world economy will reach $7,860 billion or 10% of global GDP, up by $280 billion on 2014, and travel will account for 9.5% of all jobs in the world “once all direct, indirect and induced impacts” are included.
The industry accounted for 277 million jobs worldwide last year, according to WTTC estimates.
WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill (pictured) said: “Travel and tourism continues to grow faster than the global economy and is an enduring source of job creation and a driver of growth for every region in the world.”
He added: “The sector has recorded strong economic growth in 19 of the last 20 years, providing much-needed economic stability at a time of global economic volatility.
“Governments looking for a sector which can create jobs and drive economic growth should focus on travel and tourism.”
But Scowsill noted: “This industry requires the right regulatory environment in which to flourish, along with progressive policies on visa access, taxation, human resources planning, and sustainability.”
In an interview with Travel Weekly, Scowsill hit out at the UK government for failing to address these issues.
He said: “The UK is not a good example of managing the sector.”
The WTTC estimates the US and China as the two biggest travel and tourism economies in the world, with Germany now in third place, having overtaken Japan, and the UK in fifth.
The Council expects Russia to be the only G20 country to register a decline in travel and tourism growth this year, due to sanctions imposed by the US and European Union over the Ukraine.
The WTTC forecasts South Asia will see the highest travel and tourism growth in 2015 at 6.9% year on year, against growth in Europe of 2.4%.
However, Scowsill said: “The long-term prospects for our sector are very encouraging.
“Travel and tourism will continue to grow faster than the global economy and most other major industries.”
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