(Puerto Rico) The Caribbean region, whose travel and tourism industry has been hit hard by the effects of September 11, is predicted to experience high growth after a year of stabilisation and recovery in 2002, says the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
In its tourism economic research, WTTC estimate the Caribbean will experience an accumulative loss of 13.5 per cent in travel and tourism demand for 2001 and 2002, higher than the world average of 7.4 per cent. But WTTC expect that after a year of recovery in 2002, a massive worldwide rebound will take place in 2003 with Caribbean tourism forecast to increase by 7.1 per cent, higher than the global forecast of 6.0 per cent.
Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President of the World Travel & Tourism Council, speaking at the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference in Puerto Rico, will say, “The impact of September 11 on the industry was unimaginable, but the industry has reacted positively and swiftly through cutting costs, creative advertising, innovative promotions and seeking out new market opportunities. In my mind 2002 is dedicated to stabilisation and recovery, and this process requires continued partnership between the private and public sectors.”
In a first for the industry, WTTC has been able to identify and separate the different effects of the recession and September 11 on travel and tourism. Through its research, the Council estimates the global impact of September 11 will cause a total worldwide loss to employment of over 10 million jobs - 365,000 from the Caribbean region, which is highly dependant on the industry for employment and wealth creation. But WTTC is confident this impact is finite and an upswing will begin in the second half of 2002.
Baumgarten says, “during 2003 where we expect to see the strongest industry recovery with 6.8 million jobs created worldwide, replacing most of the business and jobs lost in the extended wake of September 11.”
The research also shows a strong positive growth trend for the industry over the next ten years with long-term annual growth at 4.5 per cent for the global industry. Cayman Islands, the fastest growing travel and tourism economy in the Caribbean, is expected to grow by 6.2 per cent each year over the next decade, with many other Caribbean nations also expected to grow faster than the world average. The fastest growing country in the world is expected to be Turkey with a travel and tourism industry growth rate of 10.2 per cent.
In travel and tourism related job creation over the next ten years, Cuba is expected to be the fastest growing Caribbean country with an expected 262,000 new jobs.
Each year the Council conducts detailed macroeconomic analysis of the travel and tourism industry in 160 countries, the World and its regions, focusing on factors including employment, demand, and contribution to GDP. WTTC research is designed to implement the methodological framework for Tourism Satellite Accounting approved by the United Nations in 2000.
WTTC is the global business leaders` forum for travel and tourism. Its members are chief executives from all sectors of the industry including accommodation, catering, manufacturing, cruises, entertainment, recreation, transportation and other travel-related services. Its central goal is to work with governments to realise the full economic impact of the industry.