The World Travel & Tourism Council has launched its annual Economic Impact Report 2016, revealing tourism added 7.2 million jobs to the global economy and contributed over USD$ 7.2 trillion in GDP.
The Economic Impact Reports, WTTC’s flagship annual research, provide economic data on the contribution of the tourism sector on a global level as well as for 184 countries and 24 regions.
WTTC president David Scowsill said: “Despite uncertainty in the global economy and specific challenges to tourism last year, the sector grew by 3.7 per cent, contributing a total of 9.8 per cent to the global GDP.
“Travel also supported a total of 284 million jobs in 2015, an increase of 7.2 million, which means it now supports, directly and indirectly, one in 11 jobs on the planet.”
Scowsill added: “Travel once again has proved its resilient nature.
“Terror attacks, disease outbreaks, currency fluctuations and geopolitical challenges have impacted the sector at a country or regional level, but tourism at the global level continues to produce another robust performance.”
Travel direct contribution to GDP growth outpaced overall GDP country growth in 127 of the 184 countries covered by the research.
Countries where tourism most markedly outperformed the wider economy in 2015 include Iceland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Uganda.
The growth of the sector is stimulated by a worldwide increase in middle-class income households, an ageing population, which tends to travel more, and growing connectivity between destinations, making travel more accessible and affordable.
All regions of the world showed growth in total tourism contribution to GDP in 2015.
South-east Asia was the fastest growing region with growth of 7.9 per cent followed by South Asia, which grew 7.4 per cent.
In 2016, tourism’s total contribution to GDP is forecast to grow by 3.5 per cent, and is again expected to outpace global economic growth for the sixth consecutive year.
Security concerns, border policies, oil prices, the strength of the US dollar relative to other currencies, and other macroeconomic developments will continue to influence travel trends in 2016 and beyond.
Nevertheless, over the next decade, tourism is expected to continue to outpace the world economy, growing by four per cent on average annually.