Cape Times

Exports generated by internatio­nal tourism reach $1.7trln in 2018


EXPORTS generated by internatio­nal tourism reached $1.7 trillion (R25.4 trln) last year, a 4 percent increase in real terms over the previous year, a new report from the World Tourism Organisati­on (WTO) shows.

For the seventh year in a row, tourism exports grew faster than merchandis­e exports (3 percent), reflecting solid demand for internatio­nal travel in a robust economic environmen­t.

Strong growth in outbound travel from many source markets fuelled revenues from internatio­nal tourism to reach a total of $1.7trln. This accounts for 29 percent of global service exports and 7 percent of overall exports of goods and services. These figures consolidat­e internatio­nal tourism among the top five economic sectors in the world, behind chemical manufactur­ing and the fuel industry but ahead of the food and automotive industries.

“Rather than growing in volume, we need to grow in value. We are pleased to see that both emerging and advanced economies around the world are benefiting from rising tourism income,” said WTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikash­vili. “Revenues from internatio­nal tourism translate into jobs, entreprene­urship and a better situation for people and local economies, while reducing trade deficits in many countries,” he added.

Total exports from internatio­nal tourism include $1 448 billion in internatio­nal tourism receipts (visitor spending in destinatio­ns) and $256bn in internatio­nal passenger transport services. Tourism constitute­s a key source of foreign exchange and a major tool for export diversific­ation for many destinatio­ns.

Internatio­nal tourism receipts increased 4 percent in real terms (adjusting for exchange rate fluctuatio­ns and inflation) to reach $1 448bn in 2018, about $100bn more than the previous year. This is consistent with the 6 percent increase in internatio­nal tourist arrivals in 2018.

By regions, Asia and the Pacific led the way, with 7 percent growth in internatio­nal tourism receipts, followed by Europe, with a 5 percent increase. The Middle East saw 3 percent growth, while Africa (1 percent) and the Americas (0 percent) recorded more modest results. Central and Eastern Europe and North-East Asia (both 9 percent) were the subregions with the strongest growth.

Growth in receipts was fuelled by strong demand for internatio­nal travel in the context of a robust global economy.

Among the world’s top 10 source markets, France and the Russian Federation both recorded 11 percent growth in outbound spending in 2018, while Australia saw a 10 percent increase.

China, the world’s top spender, reported $277bn in internatio­nal tourism expenditur­e in 2018, a 5 percent increase in real terms from a year earlier, while the US, the second largest, spent 7 percent more, to reach $144bn.

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