Tourism’s importance to the global economy can’t be over emphasized, as tourists around the world have spent an estimated $1.2 billion in 2015.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), says international tourism receipts in destinations around the world grew by 3.6 per cent in 2015, in line with the 4.4 per cent increase in international arrivals.
“For the fourth consecutive year, international tourism grew faster than world merchandise trade, raising tourism’s share in world’s exports to 7 per cent in 2015. The total export value from international tourism amounted to $1.4 trillion,” it says.
The organisation indicates that the $1.2 billion income was generated by international visitors on accommodation, food and drink, entertainment, shopping, other services and goods.
The amount it says is an increase of 3.6 per cent accounting for exchange rate fluctuations and inflation.
“International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) increased by 4.4 per cent in 2015, reaching a total of 1,184 million,” it adds.
The UNWTO notes that alongside international tourism receipts (the travel item of the balance of payments), international tourism generated $210 billion in exports through international non-resident passenger transport services, bringing the total value of tourism exports up to $1.4 trillion, or $4 billion a day on average.
Speaking at the 60th Regional Commission for the Americas meeting in Havana, Cuba, Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General, reportedly said: “Tourism is today a major category of international trade in services,” adding, “Despite a weak and slow economic recovery, spending on international tourism grew significantly in 2015, proving the sector’s relevance in stimulating economic growth, boosting exports and creating jobs for an increasing number of economies worldwide”.
International tourism according to the UNWTO, represents 7 per cent of total world exports and 30 per cent of services exports.
“The share of tourism in overall exports of goods and services increased from 6 per cent to 7 per cent in 2015 as for the fourth consecutive year international tourism outgrew world merchandise trade, which grew 2.8 per cent in 2015 according to recent data reported by the World Trade Organization,” it says.
The organization notes that as a worldwide export category, tourism ranks third after fuels and chemicals and ahead of food and automotive products. In many developing countries, tourism ranks as the first export sector.
“Unusually strong exchange rate fluctuations in 2015 seriously influenced receipts for individual destinations and regions, expressed in current US dollars. Taking into account exchange rate fluctuations and inflation, receipts in the Americas, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East all grew by 4 per cent, while in Europe they grew by 3 per cent and in Africa by 2 per cent,” the UNWTO says.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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