COMCEC Tourism Outlook-2018
The Importance of Tourism for Development
A strong tourism sector contributes in many ways to development and the economy. It makes
both direct contributions, by raising the national income and improving the balance of
payments, and indirect contributions, via its multiplier effect and by providing the basis for
connecting countries, through hard and soft infrastructure attributes that are also critical for a
country’s general economic competitiveness, international trade and foreign direct investment.
Over the past decades, many new destinations have emerged, challenging the traditional ones
in Europe and North America. Formany developing countries, tourism is one of themain sources
of foreign exchange income and the number one export category, creating much needed
employment and opportunities for development. The main positive economic impacts of
tourism relate to foreign exchange earnings, contributions to government revenues, generation
of employment and investment opportunities. Local recruitment and business opportunities in
tourism help reduce rural-urban migration. While fostering gender equality, entry level jobs in
tourism require less skilled workforce and this also enhances recruitment opportunities among
Based on the information from countries with data available, the World Travel & Tourism
Council (WTTC) estimated that travel & tourism’s contribution directly to worldwide gross
domestic product (GDP) was 3.2% in 2017 and is expected to rise by 4% in 2018. The forecasted
growth of tourism’s contribution to GDP is around 3.8% on the average for the next ten years.
This is much faster than the growth in global economy which was around 3.2% in 2017. With
direct and indirect effects of more than 185 supply-side economic activities that have significant
connections to tourism, its total contribution to GDP is calculated as 10.4%, a total of US$8.3
trillion, and is expected to grow by 4 to US$8.6 trillion in 2018. It is also estimated that travel
and tourism sector have attracted capital investment of US$882 billion in 2017 (WTTC, 2018a).
Tourism provided 118 million direct (3.8% of total employment) and 195 million indirect and
induced jobs with a total of 313 million (9,9% of total employment) jobs in 2017 and direct
contribution to employment is expected to rise by 2.4% in 2018. Since tourism affects
transportation, hotels and lodging, food & beverage, cultural and entertainment industries,
banking & finance, promotion and publicity services; tourism’s contribution to employment
tends to be much higher. In 2017, nearly 313 million jobs were supported in tourism related
industries (WTTC, 2018a). Tourism’s contribution is estimated as 9.9% of the overall number of
jobs or one in 10 jobs globally (UNWTO, 2018a). According to the WTTC, travel & tourism will
support 414 million jobs which indicates 11.6% of total employment by 2028 (WTTC, 2018a).
Figure 0.1 Why Tourism Matters?
Source: UNWTO, Tourism Highlights 2016 Edition.
According to the UNWTO, total exports earnings generated by international tourism in 2016
reached US$ 1.4 trillion or US$ 4 billion a day on average. International tourism represents 7%
US $ 1.4