The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has released its 2004 forecast for US Travel & Tourism.
Following more than two years of poor performance, resulting from an economic downturn, the terrorism events of 9/11, the war in Iraq and SARS, WTTC has forecast a strong return to growth for the US industry. For 2004, WTTC is forecasting:
Demand: Encompassing all components of Travel & Tourism consumption, investment, government spending and exports to grow 7.3% (real terms) and total $1.5 trillion in 2004. The ten-year annualized growth (2005-2014) forecast is 4.1% per annum illustrating the outlook for robust recovery in 2004.
Visitor Exports: The US industry is expected to benefit from strong European and UK traffic resulting from the strong Pound and Euro to post nearly $100 billion in total Visitor Exports, a gain of 14.7% on 2003 results. This level represents 8.8% of total exports.
GDP: Travel & Tourism’s contribution to the US economy is illustrated by the direct industry impact of 4.1% of total GDP and the combined direct and indirect impact of the Travel & Tourism economy expected to total 10.7% in 2004.
Employment: The US Travel & Tourism industry is expected to produce more than one quarter million (263,190) new jobs in 2004 over it’s 2003 level to total 6.6 million jobs or 4.7% of total employment. The broader perspective of the Travel & Tourism economy (direct and indirect) is expected to create 793,000 new jobs for the US economy for a total of 16.7 million jobs dependent on Travel & Tourism or 11.9% of total employment.
WTTC President, Jean-Claude Baumgarten said, “We are cautiously optimistic that the corner has been turned for Travel & Tourism. After nearly three years of gloom and doom, we’re expecting the pent up domestic demand to surge in the United States while inbound visitors especially from Europe where the Euro and Pound are particularly strong are expected to provide a much needed boost to the industry.”
Speaking about the state of the industry, Mr. Baumgarten continued, “I think many of the large industry players have learned a tough lesson over the past few years about the sensitivity this industry has to external events - terrorism, war, SARS - and have sent that message loud and clear to local, state and national officials. Travel & Tourism is one of the largest employers in the United States providing one in every 8.4 jobs in 2004 and no longer can we sit on our laurels and hope that providing excellent products and service will be sufficient to guarantee our future growth and prosperity. We must be proactive and work with government authorities to ensure that our industry is protected and nurtured. The recent reduction of the US marketing and promotion budget is at absolute odds to this cause. It’s in our national interest to return the budget to the original $50 million.”
Richard Miller, Executive Vice President of the World Travel & Tourism Council presented the research to an audience of leading industry suppliers at the New York Times Travel Show Tourism Industry Conference in New York. Speaking at the Conference, Mr. Miller reported that global and European forecasts would be released on March 10th at a presentation at the London Stock Exchange. Mr. Miller said, “We have been watching the indicators closely for signs of recovery and the last quarter of 2003 gave us the confidence that Travel & Tourism in the United States was poised for a return to growth. Although the US Travel & Tourism industry is relatively mature compared to the developing economies it still has enormous potential for job creation and can hopefully change the notion of jobless growth.”