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Tourism to remain powerhouse


SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

Tourism to remain powerhouse

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TRAVEL AND TOURISM will continue to punch hard as Barbados’ economic heavyweight in the next decade – contributing $4.8 billion annually by 2025 and employing 55 000 at that time.

That’s the prediction of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which calls itself “the global authority on the economic and social contribution of travel and tourism”.

In its newly released Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2015 Barbados report, WTTC forecast that Barbados will register improvements in the sector’s contribution to GDP, employment, visitor exports, and investment this year.

The research, done in partnership with Oxford Economics, and which used statistical information compiled from a variety of sources, including national statistics produced by Barbados, showed travel and tourism contributed $1.010 billion (10.8 per cent of GDP) to the Barbados economy, a number it predicted would rise “by 1.8 per cent to $1.028 billion this year.

However, the London-based organisation pointed out that these numbers were based on the “United Nations Statistics Division-approved Tourism Satellite Accounting methodology”. WTTC explained that when it added the “indirect” and “induced” contributions from travel and tourism, the total contribution made to Barbados last year was $3.37 billion (36.1 per cent of GDP), a figure it expected to grow by 1.8 per cent to reach $3.43 billion (36.7 per cent of GDP) this year and $4.8 billion by 2025 (41.6 per cent of GDP).

Elaborating on how it reached these numbers, WTTC explained that travel and tourism’s direct contribution included commodities (accommodation, transportation, entertainment and attractions), industries (accommodation services, food and beverage services, retail trade, transportation services, cultural, sports and recreational services), sources of spending (residents’ domestic travel and tourism spending, businesses’ domestic travel spending, visitor exports, and individual government travel and tourism spending).

However, it believed a full account of travel and tourism’s “total” contribution to the Barbados economy could not end there. As a result, it included “indirect” contributions (travel and tourism investment spending, government collective travel and tourism spending, and the impact of purchases from suppliers) and the “induced” contribution of spending by people directly or indirectly employed in the travel and tourism industry on food and beverages, recreation, clothing, housing and household goods.

WTTC made a similar assessment for the jobs travel and tourism generate in Barbados. About 14 000 direct jobs were attributed to the sector last year, and it is forecast that this number will grow to 14 500 this year, and 17 000 by 2025. This included employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services, except “commuter services”, and “the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists”.

But the report said the “total” employment contribution, “including wider effects from investment, the supply chain and induced income impacts”, was 45 000 jobs last year, would 46 000 jobs this year and was forecast to be 55 000 jobs by 2025.

The report also said tourists generated $2 billion in expenditure last year, a number expected to reach almost $3 billion by 2015. Tourist arrivals were also predicted to reach 837 000 in the next ten years.

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