Global Travel & Tourism Exceeded $6 Trillion in 2005

More than $6 trillion was spent on travel and tourism globally in 2005, according to the 2006 Tourism Satellite Accounting (TSA) research released Monday by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Accenture. The research indicates industry growth of 5.7 percent from 2004 to 2005. The travel and tourism industry employs 220 million people and represents 10 percent of the world gross domestic product.


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“Insight into how and where the travel and tourism industry is growing is critical for companies that want to improve their performance and take advantage of that growth, either in their own countries or around the world,” Peter Franz, global managing director of Accenture’s Transportation and Travel Service practice, said in a prepared statement announcing the findings.

“As airlines, lodging companies and tour operators work to improve their bottom line, having usable data about both the industry and their own business is essential,” Franz continued. “The high performances will be those that can manage and use industry and customer data to make meaningful decisions.”

The TSA research, prepared by Oxford Economic Forecasting (OEF), includes reports on 2005 spending, a list of the top ten tourism economies and industry forecasts for 174 countries and the world. The WTTC also reported that various events, such as the tsunami in December 2004 and the bombings in London and Egypt during 2005, had local impact but did not materially affect global tourism.

“The years 2004 to 2006 will be seen as a period of significant growth for the industry. Although events like the tsunami, bombings and hurricanes, as well as a major increase in the price of oil, could have dampened demand, it appears that consumers are becoming more resilient, and Travel & Tourism continue to be a significant part of everyday life.”

The WTTC worldwide forecasts for 2006 included:

  • The industry is expected to grow 4.6 percent, in real terms, to total $6.5 trillion in 2006.

  • The 10-year annualized growth (2007-2016) forecast is 4.2 percent annually, demonstrating an outlook for strong long-term growth.

  • Visitor exports are expected to grow nearly $900 billion in 2006, due to increases in international travel. This increase represents real growth of 6.5 percent.

  • The Travel & Tourism industry is expected to represent 3.6 percent of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2006. When considering both the direct and the indirect contributions to the world economy – e.g. including growth for tourism-related businesses, such as cleaning companies and caterers – the industry is expected to total 10.3 percent of GDP in 2006.

  • The global Travel & Tourism industry is expected to produce 2.5 million new jobs in 2006, comprising 76.7 million jobs, or 2.8 percent of total world employment. When taking into account both the direct and indirect impact of the industry, Travel & Tourism are expected to create nearly 10 million jobs globally, for a total of 234.3 million jobs or 8.7 percent of total employment.

When it comes to the top ten tourism economies, Montenegro had the highest growth rate for the third straight year. The strongest tourism economies were from Asia and Eastern Europe, demonstrating the impact the emerging middle-class on the industry, as well as the industy’s role in economic development and job creation.

Top ten countries with travel and tourism demand, 2007-2016 are:

  1. Montenegro (10.2 percent annualized real growth)
  2. China (8.7 percent annualized real growth)
  3. India (8.0 percent annualized real growth)
  4. Romania (7.9 percent annualized real growth)
  5. Croatia (7.6. percent annualized real growth)
  6. Vietnam (7.5 percent annualized real growth)
  7. Latvia (7.3 percent annualized real growth)
  8. Maldives (7.2. percent annualized real growth)
  9. Albania (7.0 percent annualized real growth)
  10. Cambodia (7.0 percent annualized real growth)

“Global tourism activity is setting new records globally but what is really amazing is how smaller, developing countries like Montenegro, Romania, Namibia, and Brunei are using Travel & Tourism as catalysts for broader economic development,” said WTTC President Jean-Claude Baumgarten. “They’ve come to appreciate the impact of international visitors and resident tourism and have made strategic decisions from the highest office to focus attention, resources and effort on the economic potential.”

The full TSA report is available online at

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