A moderate slowdown awaits the global tourism industry in 2018 after a great run last year. The current issues in tourism industry 2018 – rising oil prices and stringent monetary policies in the US, UK, and China are likely to be the causes of the slowdown. Is this at all worrisome given the industry’s immense impact on the global economy? Need to give it some thought.
2017, no doubt, was the best year for global tourism industry on record as stated by a leading global industry body. It outperformed in the global economy for successive seven years posting a 4.6% growth against 3%. But 2017 also saw devastating hurricanes in the popular Caribbean Islands, which is likely to have a cascading effect in 2018.
The World Travel and Tourism Council in its annual Economic Impact report this month stated that this sector alone created 7 million new jobs in 2017, which means 1 out of 5 new jobs were in this industry.
Though this modest downtrend is inevitable, the WTTC forecasts 4% growth this year and maintains its expectations of an average annual growth rate of 3.8% for the next decade, creating more than 400 million jobs worldwide – which would imply 1 out of 9 new jobs in this sector.
Giving due weight to the current issues in tourism industry 2018, the situation is quite encouraging amidst the reigning uncertainty in a global economic scenario where fluctuating crude price and currency exchange rates will continue to be great influencers.
Will the honeymoon in global tourism industry continue?
Global tourism industry started showing resilience since 2016 in spite of rising political instability, terrorist activities, and unpredictable natural disasters. Thanks to the increased spending capacity of the global consumers followed by a steady recovery in North Indian and European markets. Appreciable growth in outbound tourism from countries like India and China has also contributed to the growth of travel and tourism sector.
Even if there is a projected dip, the industry experts are hopeful about the extension of this travel honeymoon period with the emergence of new niche tourism products. Travel today is more than visiting a destination.
It is all about accumulating enriching experiences and taking breaks from regular stress. People with disposable incomes are expanding their travel budget and are taking great interest in niche products like wellness tourism, farm tourism, etc.
What is in store for the travel and tourism in 2018?
Considering the travel and tourism economic impact across the globe, the industry has a lot to cheer for in 2018 and the forthcoming years. The global tourism industry is expected to continue to outperform in the global economy accounting for 11.4% of the global GDP and 7.1% of total global exports.
23% of the net global job creation in the next decade is expected to be from travel and tourism. The sector is likely to outpace key global sectors namely communications, financial, and business services as well as manufacturing and retail.
Notable growth prospects in 2018:
- Money spent by foreigners in a destination country is expected to grow by 3.9%.
- Spending on leisure travel is expected to grow by 4.1%
- Business travel spending is expected to grow by 3.8%.
- Domestic travel is likely to grow by 4.1% while visitor exports to grow by 3.9%.
- Investment in travel and tourism is forecasted to grow by 3.9%.
- Direct employment in this sector is expected to grow by 4.0%.
Ensuring sustainability in the growth curve checking over-tourism:
In spite of the exciting growth stats and projections, the challenge remains in ensuring the sustainability considering the sector’s significant contribution to global GDP and employment generation.
Over-tourism is one of the current issues in tourism industry 2018, which has already backfired in few key destinations. While the business objective is focused on the tourist volume, it fails to consider its harmful impact, which in the long term would be detrimental to the growth. This needs to be checked quickly.
Over-tourism strains the local infrastructure leads to massive environmental exploitation, harm the interests of tourists and locals alike, and imperil the most cherished heritage sites and buildings. Notable European destinations like Venice and Barcelona are already facing the heat of over-tourism which goes against responsible tourism.
WTTC is engaging in efforts encouraging uniform tourism all over the world where the bulk of travelers need to be at different destinations at the same time. The government and tourism providers also need to come forward to restrict the seasonal tourist inflow to a decently acceptable limit instead of luring tourists with cheaply priced travel packages targeting higher volume-driven earnings.