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World Travel & Tourism Council

Global travel&tourism poised for robust growth in 2004

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) released its 2004 Travel & Tourism forecasts for 174 countries and the…

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) released its 2004 Travel & Tourism forecasts for 174 countries and the world yesterday at the London Stock Exchange.

Releasing forecasts prepared on its behalf by Oxford Economic Forecasting, which follow the United Nations standard for Tourism Satellite Accounting, the WTTC reported that the Travel & Tourism recovery from 9/11, the war in Iraq, SARS and the down-turned economy is now well underway and the overall outlook for 2004 and beyond is for robust growth.

Worldwide for 2004, WTTC is forecasting:

  • Demand: Encompassing all components of Travel & Tourism consumption, investment, government spending and exports to grow 5.9 per cent (real terms) and total $5.5 trillion in 2004. The ten-year annualized growth (2005-2014) forecast is 4.5 per cent per annum illustrating the outlook for a bull market recovery in 2004.
  • Visitor Exports: A number of Travel & Tourism economies are expected to benefit from the strong Pound and Euro against the US dollar, which is expected to spur nearly $727.9 billion in total Visitor Exports worldwide, a gain of 9.6 per cent on 2003 results. This level represents 6.9 per cent of total global exports.
  • GDP: Travel & Tourism`s contribution to the world economy is illustrated by the direct industry impact of 3.8 per cent of total GDP and the combined direct and indirect impact of the Travel & Tourism economy expected to total 10.4 per cent in 2004.
  • Employment: The global Travel & Tourism industry is expected to produce 3.3 million new jobs in 2004 over it`s 2003 level to total 73.7 million jobs or 2.8 per cent of total world employment. The broader perspective of the Travel & Tourism economy (direct and indirect) is expected to create nearly 10 million new jobs (9,931,000) for the world economy for a total of 214.7 million jobs dependent on Travel & Tourism or 8.1 per cent of total employment.

WTTC President, Jean-Claude Baumgarten said, The industry is poised for a robust recovery in 2004. The stage has been set for Travel & Tourism Demand to forge ahead to normal levels of growth following three years of economic uncertainty and reluctance by consumers to travel. I am cautiously optimistic that we have weathered the perfect storm of terrorism, war and health concerns that created a disproportionate toll of concern and impact on our consumers, the industry and our economy.

Speaking about the state of the industry, Mr. Baumgarten continued, We`ve learned a number of lessons these past three years about Travel & Tourism`s sensitivity to external events. Perhaps one of the biggest lessons is that the economic impact of the industry goes well beyond the traditional notion of airlines, hotels, car rental agencies and tour operators, but reaches well into the fabric of our economies. When the front line of Travel & Tourism is hit by a fall in Travel & Tourism demand, our entire economy suffers. And although the industry can and does do a great deal to help alleviate the concerns of our customers and get them moving again, government officials must step in and become partners with the industry to strengthen its position and resolve.

At the press event, the WTTC released its 2004 Top Ten List of Travel & Tourism economies. This year Montenegro, new to the WTTC list of economies covered in the research, has placed first as the fastest growing Travel & Tourism economy in the world. India and China placed second and third respectively illustrating the impact of the emerging middle-classes has on Travel & Tourism growth.

Travel & Tourism Demand, 2005-2014 (% Annualized Real Growth)

1. Montenegro 10.3

2. India 8.8

3. China 8.7

4. Vietnam 8.3

5. Angola -8.2

6. Laos 8.1

7. Chad 7.7

8. Guadeloupe 7.4

9. Fiji 7.3

10. Uganda 7.3

Immediate Reactions (Excerpts)

Vince Wolfington, Chairman and CEO of Carey International and Chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council said, These past few years have been extremely tough for the entire industry, everyone from the airlines, hotels, ground transportation, agents, retail and more have suffered. Our turnover is down, we`ve lost employees and our economies have suffered. As we`ve witnessed so recently, the outlook can be strong and impressive, but an event like SARS can take it all away in a matter of days. We must not let down our guard. Hopefully we`re smarter now and government and industry are prepared to work together and have contingency plans in place for the next event. It`s our responsibility to our customers, our employees, our shareholders and our economies…

Stelios the serial entrepreneur said, …I am optimistic about the future of travel as an industry so I will be bringing low cost services in the form of easyBus, easyHotel and easyCruise to consumers in the immediate future.

Such bullish growth for tourism in 2004 is good for all sectors of the global travel industry and timeshare will be a major beneficiary. Already one of the fastest growing sectors of the Travel & Tourism industry, a strong market will only serve to boost confidence further and create greater growth opportunities… David Clifton, Managing Director, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, Interval International.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.