Global tourism continues to register strong growth despite challenges from terrorism, political turmoil, global economic developments, and the Brexit decision, according to new research by the World Travel & Tourism Council.
The update of WTTC’s Economic Impact Reports 2016 shows that, despite the many challenges tourism has faced in the first six months of 2016, the sector is still expected to grow by 3.1 per cent, outpacing global economic growth forecast at 2.3 per cent.
The regional outlook for direct tourism GDP in 2016 shows that:
- South Asia leads the growth at 5.9 per cent, driven by strong economic prospects in India.
- Latin America will be the worst performer, with an anticipated decline of 0.9 per cent, driven by weakness in Brazil.
- North-east Asia and south-east Asia are expected to show solid growth at 4.7 per cent and four per cent respectively, stimulated by China growing at 6.3 per cent.
- North America will perform well, with forecast growth of 3.1 per cent.
- Europe will be challenged by lower visitor spend, but will still grow by 2.2 per cent.
While the global picture remains positive, the outlook for some countries has deteriorated since WTTC’s last forecast in March 2016.
In France, the sector’s direct contribution to GDP is still growing, but the forecast has been reduced from 2.9 per cent to 1.1 per cent, due to macroeconomic downgrades in other European countries, and compounded by the recent incidents in the country, including the atrocity in Nice.
In Brazil, the sector is still expected to contract, despite the positive effect of the Olympics.
The report includes a focus on the impact of the Brexit decision.
This shows that tourism in the UK is expected to hold up well in 2016 with growth of 3.6 per cent.
Weaker domestic spending growth, and a projected drop in UK outbound holidays of three per cent, will be offset by higher spending in the UK by international visitors as a result of the favourable exchange rate.
WTTC president David Scowsill said: “Our update report highlights the resilience of travellers and the robustness of our sector, as tourism continues to outpace global economic growth by nearly one per cent.
“While we should not downplay the impact of incidents or turmoil at individual country level, on a macro-economic level we continue to register strong growth.
“It is important to remember that tourism is a force for good.
“It brings tremendous social and economic benefits to countries and connects people from different cultures and backgrounds.
“We call on governments to continue to focus on the economic and social benefits of tourism, and to work together with the private sector to combat some of the challenges we face.”
See the full report here.