The contribution travel and tourism makes to the world economy is forecast to dip by 5.5% next year, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Travel and tourism’s contribution to world GDP has fallen to less than 9.3% this year – from 9.6% in 2008 and will level out “at best” in 2010.
However, there are tentative signs of recovery and the long-term forecast for travel and tourism is 4% growth over the coming decade.
Speaking at World Travel Market yesterday, WTTC President and CEO, Jean-Claude Baumgarten (pictured), said:
“Travel and tourism clearly continues to face challenging times, especially if the tentative recovery underway loses momentum or if the A(H1N1) influenza pandemic were to intensify and become more virulent.”
Baumgarten also called for governments to be supportive towards the tourism industry, and not to put obstacles in the way of the tentative recovery.
“Policy-makers need to be wary about placing extra burdens on this previously dynamic sector at this crucial time when profitability is already under severe pressure.
“If the challenging times facing Travel & Tourism are ignored by governments,” he said, “then its role in employment creation and poverty reduction could be seriously undermined.”
Adrian Cooper, Managing Director of Oxford Economics, WTTC’s research partner, joined Baumgarten.
Cooper said: “In the aftermath of the financial crisis that started last summer, the global economy contracted at its steepest rate in post-war history.
“However, recent indicators suggest that the global economy has passed its trough and some forecasts for 2010 are now being upwardly revised.
“Key recovery drivers are unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimuli, reviving credit markets and recovering asset prices.
However, he warned: “But there are good reasons for caution and a second dip into recession early in 2010 – what we call the double-dip scenario – cannot yet be ruled out.”
Travel and tourism growth in 2008 slowed to 1%, as significant momentum was lost in the second half of the year, and the deterioration intensified early in 2009, resulting in:
• International air passenger traffic contracting by 6% year on year in the first eight months of 2009;
• Widespread losses across all regions, although currency effects and domestic tourism have provided some support.