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WTTC: Recovery ‘stronger than expected’

A faster than anticipated economic recovery has been reflected in a faster-than-expected rebound in international travel, particularly in Asian markets, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has said.

Global tourism real GDP growth is now expected to rise by two per cent this year (up from the 0.5 per cent forecast earlier in the year), creating an extra 946,000 jobs worldwide.

Pictured: WTTC president Jean-Claude Baumgarten

However, expenditure on tourism is still well down on its 2008 peak and the pace of recovery in 2011 is likely to be slower than previously forecast. Western consumers continue to pay down debt and many developed economies move to tighten fiscal policy. 

“The longer-term prospects for travel and tourism remain positive, boosted by rising prosperity in Asia. WTTC remains confident tourism will remain a dynamic force for wealth and job creation,” says WTTC president Jean-Claude Baumgarten.

“Over the next ten years, WTTC forecasts that the global tourism economy will grow by 4.3 per cent per year, implying its share of the global economy will rise to just over ten per cent.

Looking at growth in some world regions Asia is still set to see growth of 4.2 per cent, however, this is slightly down from the initial forecast.

Glancing over some key countries in Asia, China will remain the main engine of global growth over the next decade.

India will enjoy a robust recovery following mild slowdown in 2009 whereas Japan’s real GDP growth will increase gradually, reaching a cyclical peak in 2013.

WTTC president Jean-Claude Baumgarten was speaking today at World Travel Market

European Drag

Performing less well is Europe.

This region will only manage a 1.4 per cent growth this year (down 0.2 per cent). Looking at some key countries in this region, the United Kingdom’s tourism economy GDP will contract further this year, before growth starts to accelerate from 2011, with the 2012 Olympics set to boost activity.

France and Spain will suffer further contraction in 2010 with no real growth until 2012 and Germany’s strong visitor arrival growth will unfortunately be offset by weak outlook for investment.