Tourism 'key' in drive out of recession
12/29/2008|10:52:00 AM|Travelmole
23 December, 2008: Tourism will be a key factor in the global drive out of recession, the UN World Tourism Organisation claims. The industry will also be a strong contributor to a long term green economic ‘new deal’.

UNWTO assistant secretary general Geoffrey Lipman said: “Tourism can deliver more than most sectors for the economy as a whole.

“Mobility is hardwired into the human gene. Tourism – for business and leisure underpins trade, communication and modern lifestyles. It is one of the biggest export sectors and a vital increasingly important part of the development agenda.”

Lipman said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that global leaders are looking to a green new deal to help respond to the challenges of the macroeconomic crisis and the climate and development agenda. ”

“New jobs, new technology, new finance to stimulate our economies and at the same time to reduce our carbon footprint. There is no better sector for this green economy approach than tourism.”

He gave three examples:

• Tourism can deliver for the economy as a whole. It is a catalytic industry and should be part of stimulus packages for infrastructure, jobs and investment

• Tourism should be aligned closely to evolving norms on climate and development.
• A “quadruple bottom line sustainability” should be built into every facet of our supply and demand chain - economic, social, environment and climate balance.

He was speaking as the organisation acknowledged that tourism is facing increasingly difficult conditions as the global economy deteriorates.

Asia and the Pacific, one of fastest growing tourism regions in the world, is also strongly feeling the impact of the global slowdown.

International tourist arrivals in Asia and the Pacific are estimated to have increased by around 3% between January and October this year as compared to a 10.5% growth in 2007.

The slowdown was particularly strong since August following the spike in oil prices and the consequent cuts in airline capacity and increasing transport costs.

“The impact in receipts is expected to be even more significant as travellers trim down their length of stay and their consumption in terms of type of accommodation and other activities,” the UNWTO admitted.

“In the shorter term, overall prospects – against continuing downward revisions in macro-economic expectations and primary generating markets in recession – look quite gloomy. But tourism is more and more emerging as a strong potential contributor to economic recovery.

“An excellent example is China’s current plan to stimulate its 1.6 billion domestic travel market as one of the government’s measures to stimulate economic growth.”