BANGKOK, Thailand & LAS VEGAS, Nevada, US – The latest research from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), carried out in collaboration with Oxford Economics, suggests that the APEC region’s visitor exports will increase by 4-5% per annum over the next 10 years, rising to US$750 billion by 2021, or a 4% share of APEC’s total exports.
Travel and tourism is widely recognized as a major engine for future economic growth within the economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping. In 2010, the APEC economies collectively attracted over 40% of total international arrivals worldwide and generated more than 40% of world visitor exports.
Travel and tourism contributes close to 3% of APEC’s GDP, or a projected US$990 billion in 2011, as well as supporting 45 million jobs – 3% of total employment. And if the indirect and induced impacts of travel and tourism are factored into the calculations, the total contribution is almost 3 times greater. Moreover, both the direct and total contributions of travel and tourism to GDP and employment are forecast to rise strongly over the coming decade.
“While this is good reason for optimism, it will be critical to make every effort going forward to ensure that the potential is fully tapped,” said Helen Marano, Director of the Office of Travel & Tourism Industries at the US Department of Commerce. As lead shepherd of the APEC Tourism Working Group (TWG), Marano was speaking to delegates at the TWG’s 38th meeting organized by the Philippines’ Department of Tourism on the picturesque island of Cebu from May 7-9.
“The political, economic, and operating environments must all be conducive to growth, so that travel and tourism can stimulate and facilitate private sector enterprise and investment, stimulate exports and foreign exchange, generate new jobs, and create new business opportunities,” Marano added. “And this is something we can only achieve in partnership with the private sector.”
A proliferation of taxes and other surcharges on travelers, visa restrictions, ill-thought out environmental and other legislation, inadequate infrastructure and transport access, as well as constraints on workforce mobility, capital flows, and access to capital – these are some of the many barriers to the projected growth in tourism demand, which could in turn impact on APEC’s economic performance and the livelihoods and well-being of its citizens.
Recognizing that the only way of overcoming these obstacles is to establish a true dialogue between the public and private sectors, APEC has approved groundbreaking research to be conducted in partnership with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the World Travel & Tourism Council.
With the aim of achieving concrete outcomes, aligning closely with APEC’s overall strategic priorities – such as capacity building, regional economic integration, and regulatory cooperation and convergence – the new study, Creating Business Growth Opportunities for Travel and Tourism in the New APEC Economy, will involve consultation with governments, experts, and industry leaders, such as members of PATA and WTTC, in order to identify business opportunities to create an enabling environment that will drive sustainable tourism growth. The research will provide concrete, solutions-based recommendations to drive collective action by APEC, as well as to inform individual action plans by APEC-member economies.
The findings and recommendations of the study, which will be launched in mid-2011, are due to be presented at a workshop organized in conjunction with the 40th APEC TWG and 7th Tourism Ministers Meeting, scheduled for August 2012 in Russia.
To quote John Koldowski, Deputy Chief Executive of PATA and Head of PATA’s Office of Strategy Management: “This is a significant study since it dovetails the needs of investors in tourism throughout the APEC region with those of the policy-makers who are mandated with increasing the well-being of their various communities – in a manner that promotes long-term sustainable and equitable development.”
“We look forward to working with APEC and PATA to address these key issues facing the travel and tourism industry,” said David Scowsill, WTTC President and CEO, “issues that have already been earmarked as strategic priorities for WTTC in 2011-12, and which will be a major theme at our 11th Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Las Vegas from May 17-19.”
Anyone interested in learning more about this study, or contributing to the research, is invited to contact John Koldowski at PATA, Bangkok, on tel: +66.2 658 2000 or via email: [email protected], or Nancy Cockerell at WTTC, London, on tel: +44 20 7481 8007 or via email: [email protected] .