People are rediscovering travel following the recession, according to data unveiled on the second day of World Travel Market,
the premier global event for the travel industry.
Latest figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council show that worldwide, travel and tourism’s gross domestic product is expected to rise by 2% this year, compared with a forecast in January of only 0.5%.
However, the WTTC has urged caution, pointing out this sudden growth spurt means that tourism GDP in 2011 will grow by only 2.7%, compared with 3.2% forecast in January.
Figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organization for the first nine months of this year confirm the progressive recovery of the industry with a 7% increase in international arrivals compared with the same period in 2009.
A high-profile Summit, attended by more than 150 government tourism ministers and their aides, heard about the importance of tourism during the economic recovery. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO, said: “Tourism should be seen as part of the solution.”
The summit illustrated how governments around the world prioritise tourism differently. China was seen as one of the most progressive, with its central government identifying tourism as one of the country’s key industries, giving it the backing to grow.
Taxation was a recurring theme during the Summit and elsewhere during the day. Ken O’Toole, Ryanair’s New Route Development Director warned airports that the carrier would pull routes if airport charges were increased. On the other hand, airports which reduced fees would see more business.