Tourism will still be king

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, shawncumberbatch@nationnews.com

Added 31 March 2017

tourism-chart-032717

Barbados’ economy is expected to get a bigger contribution from travel and tourism. (Internet image)

 

TOURISM WILL CONTINUE to be golden egg in Barbados’ economic basket even as the island pursues diversification via other sectors including renewable energy.

This will include long stay visitor arrivals passing one million annually by 2027 and nearly half of all jobs having some travel and tourism link.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) gave this evaluation in its just released Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2017 report on Barbados.

The 24-page document, which measured travel and tourism’s overall contribution to Barbados and makes performance predictions for the next ten years, said the sector’s “total contribution” last year was about $3.6 billion (39.9 per cent of gross domestic product).

While it forecast the figure to fall by 2.5 per cent this year, WTTC said it would rise by 3.9 per cent per annum to $5.1 billion (46.1 per cent) in 2027.

Other industry performance indicators, including visitor spending (visitor exports), employment, and investment were also expected to increase in the next ten years, said the WTTC report.

In terms of spending, it said: “Visitor exports are a key component of the direct contribution of travel and tourism. In 2016, Barbados generated $2.4 [billion] in visitor exports. In 2017, this is expected to fall by 3.1 per cent, and the country is expected to attract 630 000 international tourist arrivals.

“By 2027, international tourist arrivals are forecast to total 1 009 000, generating expenditure of $3.5 [billion], an increase of 4.3 per cent [per annum].”

As for employment, it added: “In 2016, the total contribution of travel and tourism to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry was 39.8 per cent of total employment (51 000 jobs). This is expected to fall by 3.3 per cent in 2017 to 49 000 jobs and rise
by 2.1 per cent [per annum] to 60 000 jobs in 2027 (47 per cent of total).”

Investment in the industry was also forecast to increase, said WTTC. The report said Barbados’ travel and tourism investment was $268.5 million last year (about 23.3 per cent of total investment”.

“It should rise by 2.1 per cent in 2017, and rise by 5.4 per cent [per annum] over the next ten years to $464.5 million in 2027, 32.5 per cent of total,” it said.

While the United Nations’ approved methodology accounts for the direct contribution of travel and tourism, WTTC said its research also captured “indirect and induced impacts”.

It explained that the direct contribution “reflects the ‘internal’ spending on travel and tourism (total spending within a particular spending by government on travel and tourism services directly linked to visitors, such as cultural (for example museums) or recreational (including national parks).

“The direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP is calculated from total internal spending by ‘netting out’ the purchases made by the different tourism sectors,” it noted.

However, the indirect contribution included the GDP and jobs supported by travel and tourism investment spending (both current and future activity that includes investment activity such as the purchase of new aircraft and construction of new hotels).

WTTC said it also captured Government “collective” spending, “which helps travel and tourism activity in many different ways as it is made on behalf of the domestic purchases of goods and services by the sectors dealing directly with tourists.

This included “purchases of food and cleaning services by hotels, of fuel and catering services by airlines, and [information technology] services by travel agents”.

The “induced” contribution “measures the GDP and jobs supported by the spending of those who are directly or indirectly employed by the travel and tourism industry”.

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