1 . 1 : T h e T r a v e l & T o u r i s m C o m p e t i t i v e n e s s I n d e x
The Travel & TourismCompetitiveness Index:Assessing Key Factors Drivingthe Sector’s Development
Senior Economist, Global CompetitivenessNetwork, World Economic Forum
Head of Aviation, Travel and Tourism, WorldEconomic Forum
Travel & Tourism (T&T) is a critical source of economicgrowth and development in many countries around theworld,rendering the measurement of its competitivenessan important undertaking.Over the past several decades,Travel & Tourism has become a key sector in the worldeconomy.In 1950,international tourism receipts totaleda mere US$2.1 billion;by 2004 this had grown to animpressive US$622.7 billion.
Tourism has become anextremely important employment and revenue generator internationally,providing jobs directly through thetourism industry itself (for example,hotels,visitor attractions,restaurants,tourist transport,and soon)and indirectly through the supply of many goods andservices that are inputs to the tourism industry.
Inaddition,there are many local revenue-generatingactivities that are not formally registered in the nationalaccounts (for example,informal employment such asstreet vendors and informal guides).This indirect tourismrevenue has been estimated to have a magnitude equalto that of direct tourism expenditures.
By 2006,the T&T sector accounted for 234 million jobs or 8.2 percent of total employment worldwide,aswell as 10.3 percent of world GDP.
And the sector continues to grow.The World Travel & Tourism Council(WTTC) estimates that in 2006 the T&T sector con-tributed 2.5 million new jobs worldwide.When takinginto account both the direct and indirect impact of theindustry as described above,Travel & Tourism creatednearly 10 million new jobs globally.
Behind these revenue and employment figures isthe large and growing number of international travelers.According to the World Tourism Organization(UNWTO),the number of international arrivals grewfrom 25 million in 1950 to an estimated 763 million in2004,corresponding to an average annual growth rateof 6.5 percent.
In the first eight months of 2006,inter-national tourist arrivals totaled 578 million worldwide,up by 4.5 percent from 553 million in the same periodof 2005—a year that saw a record 806 million peopletraveling internationally.This growth is expected tocontinue in 2007 at a pace of approximately 4 percentworldwide.
The industry is one of the world’s largest economicactivities:it is the main industry in many countries,aswell as the fastest-growing economic sector in terms of foreign exchange earnings and job creation according tothe UNWTO.In other words,Travel & Tourism is animportant driver of growth and prosperity and,particu-larly within developing countries,the sector is alsoimportant for poverty reduction.The World TradeOrganization (WTO) estimates that developing countriesderive over 43 percent of their total services trade
The authors would like to thank Thierry Geiger for his excellent researchassistance in developing the Travel and & Tourism CompetitivenessIndex and preparing the present chapter. They would also like to thankIrene Mia for valuable input into the project over the past year.