Travel & Tourism sector outpaced overall economy for the fifth consecutive year
London, UK: A major new report has revealed the vital contribution that Travel & Tourism will make to Asia-Pacific’s economic recovery, once the COVID-19 pandemic has been combatted.
The publication by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, of its annual Economic Impact Report (EIR), shows how big a part Travel & Tourism played in driving the economy in the region last year.
The fastest growing region during 2019, driven by the continued growth in middle income households, visa facilitation, improved connectivity and government prioritisation of the sector, Travel & Tourism generated $2,971 billion USD towards GDP, or 9.8% of the region’s economy, growing by 5.5% from the previous year, ahead of the overall regional economy for the fifth consecutive year, which grew by 4.2%.
International visitor spend totalled a staggering $548 billion USD, representing 6.6% of the region’s total exports.
Further evidence of the importance of Travel & Tourism in the region, is demonstrated by the research that shows over the last five years, the region was a world leader in job creation, with Travel & Tourism creating more than 21 million new jobs, equating to 56% of all new jobs globally.
The comprehensive report also showed leisure travel makes up the majority of total Travel & Tourism spend (81%), with only 19% being attributed to business travel. When considering domestic and international spend the numbers skewed similarly, with domestic visitor spend making up 74% of the total, and international making up 26%.
China led the region in 2019 in terms of GDP and employment size, with strong performances in other major Asian markets such as Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Travel & Tourism supports more jobs in China than in any other country in the region - nearly 80 million jobs, or, 10.3% of total employment. The Travel & Tourism economy in the country grew by 9.3% and is the second largest in the world – making up 11.3% of China’s overall economy.
Malaysia and Vietnam also witnessed significant growth, up 6.6% and 7.7% respectively, with both displaying an even split between domestic and international visitor spending, with 49% of visitor spend from domestic travellers and 51% of spend from international. The majority of the Travel & Tourism spending in both countries overwhelmingly came from leisure travel, with Malaysia attributing 86% of visitor spend to leisure, and Vietnam attributing 90%.
The Philippines also saw significant growth by 8.6% once again, making up 25.3% of the total economy in the country and supporting 24.1% of total employment (more than 10 million jobs). Leisure spending made up 66% of total visitor spending, and 85% was made up of domestic visitors.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “WTTC’s 2019 Economic Impact Report (EIR) shows how intrinsic Travel & Tourism was last year to the economy in Asia-Pacific, making it the fastest growing region in the world in terms of its contribution to GDP, supporting more than 182 million jobs or 9.6% of the total number of people employed.
“Our report underscores how vital Travel & Tourism will be in powering the recovery of the region’s economy, generating new jobs and driving visitors back to Asia-Pacific, having a positive economic domino effect on suppliers large and small throughout the industry.
“Until then it is crucial that all governments throughout the region help to protect Travel & Tourism as the backbone of the regional and global economy, which is currently in a fight for survival. Our research shows that up to 75 million jobs globally are at immediate risk, with more than 48 million at risk across the Asia Pacific region alone, highlighting how critically the sector requires support.”
On a global level, the Travel & Tourism sector outperformed the 2.5% rate of global GDP growth for the ninth consecutive year in a row, thanks to an annual GDP growth rate of 3.5%. This made it the global economy’s third highest sector in terms of GDP growth.
The EIR shows the sector supporting one in 10 (330 million) jobs, making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.
A breakdown by WTTC shows Asia Pacific to be the top performing region worldwide with an impressive growth rate of 5.5%, followed very closely by the Middle East at 5.3%. The US and EU both demonstrated a steady growth rate of 2.3%, while the fastest growing country among was Saudi Arabia.