Global tourism on the rise despite geopolitical tensions

Published on : Tuesday, July 21, 2015

global tourismThe global travel and tour industry shows significant resilience with the number of international visitors continuously growing despite geopolitical tensions in some regions the travel and tourism sector is contributing approximately 9% of global GDP or US$ 7 trillion to the global economy. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has predicted a continued 4% annual growth for the tourism industry which is faster than any other sector that contributes to the economy of the country.



Owing to the strength of the industry the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report is “Growing through Shocks.” The report analyzed the performance of 141 T&T sectors through the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) and has responded to their economic, security and health shocks over recent decades. Thus the T&T sector contributes largely to employment generation, economic growth and developing economies.



T&T performance is based on a 14 pillar methodology. Certain factors have emerged as more important and throw greater impact in the growth of the tourism industry. Most tourists look for enabling environment which provide suitable business settings, safety and security, health and hygiene. Also the labour market and the availability of human resources pay a large role for a successful tourism industry. Other strategic aspects that impact the T&T industry are polarization of the travel and tourism industry, internal openness, price competitiveness and environmental sustainability. The air, ground and tourist service infrastructure greatly influences tourism, natural and Cultural Resources sub index, captures the principal “reasons to travel”.


According to the set criteria Spain leads the 2015 TTCI ranking for the first time, and Europe—with a total of six countries in the top 10—is confirmed as the region with the most T&T-competitive economies.



America too played an important role in T&T by receiving 170 million visitors in 2013. The United States is the highest ranked country in the Americas and 4th globally. It welcomed a record 74 million international visitors in 2014. Brazil ranks 28th overall and 1st in South America. The 2014 FIFA World Cup and upcoming 2016 Rio Olympic Games have considerably improved its infrastructure. Mexico is ranked 30th overall, Panama is ranked 33rd overall. Colombia is 68th globally, with 2.3 million international tourist arrivals.



In Asia Pacific the most committed to T&T. The region’s most developed areas—including Oceania, the Asian Tigers and Japan—all have world-class transport infrastructure, high degrees of ICT readiness and openness, and outstanding human resources. International visitors in the South-East Asia have grown owing to the price competitiveness of the region and its rich natural capital. ASEAN countries visa facilitation, aiming in the coming years for holders of a visa for any ASEAN country being able to travel freely in all 25 member states will ultimately lead to an increase of up to 10 million visitors in ASEAN countries. Australia ranks 7th overall and top in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan is ranked 9th globally and 2nd in the Asia-Pacific. China ranks 6th regionally and 17th globally, Singapore ranks 11th globally in this TTCI edition, India takes 52nd place overall, and Indonesia ranks 50th overall while its growing tourism industry reaching over 8.8 million international visitors in 2014.



Middle East and North Africa are pre-competitive destinations where some places have already built significant T&T industries in recent years. Bit security concerns stemming from terrorism have somewhat prevented some areas from receiving tourists to their maximum potential. The MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region can be categorized into three groups; those that have already built a strong tourism base as being a safe destination, those that are very attractive places but with safety and security concerns or infrastructure limitations (Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon); and those that are not leveraging enough their T&T capacity. United Arab Emirates (UAE) leads the region and takes 24th place globally, welcoming over 10 million tourists in 2013. This region figures in the first category, Israel is ranked 7th in the region and 72nd globally figures in the second category owing to its heritage sites. Saudi Arabia attracts mostly business and religious tourists. Morocco and Egypt are both significant culturally.


Sub-Saharan Africa most countries in this region are aware of the potential role of tourism as an economic opportunity and development catalyst. Tanzania, Gambia, Kenya and South Africa are all putting significant efforts into advancing T&T development, trailing behind Seychelles and Mauritius, where the tourism sector’s share of the economy is particularly large, South Africa, Botswana, Rwanda and Mauritius among the region’s leaders and Angola, Zimbabwe and Chad among those performing less well. South Africa ranks 48th overall. Mauritius is a major tourist destination, ranking 3rd in the region and 56th globally, Nigeria attains the 131st position overall.

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