Less frequent flyers

Despite a 12.5% decline in international tourism travel in the first quarter of 2009–the depths of the current recession– international tourism has been growing slightly faster than the world economy and is expected to continue to do so, with a projected average annual growth rate of about 4% over the long term.

Clearly, though tourism has slowed, “getting away from it all” still has resonance in the crisis. Also, as OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2010 notes, people have been discovering new places to get away to. The focus of international travel, once fixed on Europe and North America, has spread south and east: China is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and the Asia-Pacific region now ranks second–behind Europe and ahead of the Americas–as an international tourist destination and in income from tourism. Meanwhile, the market shares of Africa and the Middle East are growing strongly. In Egypt, for example, tourism now accounts for more than 6% of the country’s GDP and 13% of total employment, while in South Africa, tourism represents more than 7% of both GDP and total employment.

Tourism has an impact throughout the economy. With the current economic slowdown, whole sectors, and particularly employment opportunities, could suffer. As OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2010 suggests, long-term strategies are essential, and governments must take the lead in developing cross-sector policies to promote responsible tourism.

OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2010 offers country-specific data on tourism for 42 countries. It also provides policymakers and those involved in the industry with recommendations on how to develop tourism sustainably in the face of concerns about climate change and biodiversity, and how to manage and protect historic monuments from the wear and tear of so many visitors.

ISBN 978-92-64-07741-6

©OECD Observer No 278 March 2010

Economic data


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