Challenges Faced by the Caribbean Travel and Tourism Sector
This September at the Caribbean Council of Ministers and Commissioners Mr. David Scowsill President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council offered outstanding insights regarding the Caribbean’s travel & tourism sector and the complex and ever-changing issues it faces.
According to research provided by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC):
- The travel & tourism sector supports 284 million jobs, or one in eleven of all jobs on the planet.
- Worldwide it contributes almost 10% of global GDP.
- Of all the regions studied by WTTC, the Caribbean has the highest proportion of GDP derived from travel & tourism (14.8% when you include direct and indirect impacts) and the highest proportion of jobs (13.3%).
- These trends are forecast to continue for the next ten years, by which time our sector will contribute 16.2% of GDP and 15.2% of all jobs.
- Of the 10 countries in the world where Travel & Tourism contributes the highest proportion of GDP, six are in the Caribbean, including Aruba where 30% of the economy is directly derived from Travel & Tourism.
Therefore the state of travel & tourism around the world is exceptionally important to the economies of Caribbean countries. Fortunately, our sector is remarkably resilient and we do not foresee a global slowdown despite the many challenges facing the global economy. In fact, WTTC forecasts a growth of 3.1% in 2016 against the 2.3% global economy projection, and 4% on average every year for the next decade.
Our sector looks in great health, but there are three significant global challenges which will require our constant attention.
- Policies for Growth – We must encourage governments to develop infrastructure, improve taxation and confront the skills gap; thousands of skilled jobs will be required in the next decade to meet the projected 3.4% annual growth.
- Tourism for Tomorrow – Our sector has the potential to contribute directly or indirectly to all of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and is specifically cited in three of them. There are few sectors that would be more affected by the failure to reduce our carbon emissions to live within a 2-degree world.
- Freedom to Travel – Travel facilitation in the face of the global terror threat. At a global level, terrorist attacks are isolated incidents with minimal impact. People don’t stop travelling but change plans and travel to destinations which they perceive as safe. The core issue is how governments respond to the continued terror threat.
Our sector must be part of the solution for governments and it will take all stakeholders – public and private – to work together to find the right solution which again balances safeguarding security with the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism.