WTTC: International travel will spur tourism industry despite world economic woes


(eTN) – The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has said the industry will see no “real impact” in the year ahead even as the credit squeeze takes hold on household budgets worldwide, including travel.

Ahead of its eight annual global travel and tourism summit in Dubai (April 20-22), the WTTC said the “deteriorating” economic conditions are causing concerns in the industry as the world goes through its worst global economic shock in 60 years.

But, higher revenues in oil producing countries, and freeing of funds by central banks will boost growth in emerging markets, including investments in tourism projects, said WTTC president Jean-Claude Baumgarten.

“The slowdown is likely to have a limited effect,” added Baumgarten. “The Middle East region in particular, will see the fastest average tourism growth, together with the developing countries.”

These countries not only recognize the potential in development of the travel and tourism industry, but are investing heavily in new infrastructure and facilities.

“The rapid economic growth will boost their income levels beyond the level where international travel becomes both feasible and a desired option.”

Data from WTTC shows international tourism arrivals increased by nearly 6 percent last year over 2006 figures, to reach 900 million tourists, returning an average growth of 4 percent.