By Daniel Hunter

The Travel & Tourism industry has outperformed the global economy in 2012 — growing faster than manufacturing, retail, financial services and communications.

The industry has grown its total contribution to GDP by 3% and increased the number of jobs by five million to 260 million. It means that, for the first time, one in 11 of all jobs in the world are now supported by Travel & Tourism. More than 10% of all new jobs created in 2012 were from the industry.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) economic research, in 2012, Travel & Tourism’s total economic contribution - taking account of its direct, indirect and induced impacts - was US$6.6 trillion in GDP (a rise of US$500 billion year-on-year), US$765 billion in investment and US$1.2 trillion in exports (all 2012 prices). This contribution represents 9% of total GDP, 5% of total investment and 5% of world exports.

Among the 20 largest global economies (the G20), South Korea, China, South Africa and Indonesia performed best. Growth of less than 1% in Europe and 2% in the United States was counter-balanced by 10% growth in South Korea, 7% in China and South Africa and 6% in Indonesia.

WTTC is predicting the Travel & Tourism industry will expand its total contribution to GDP by 3.2% in 2013, faster than the 2.4% predicted for global economic growth. The industry is expected to support nearly 266 million jobs in 2013 and again outperform many other industries.

“2012 demonstrated again just how resilient the Travel & Tourism industry is. Despite many economic difficulties, last year, for the first time, we saw more than one billion international travellers pass through the world’s ports, airports, roads and railway stations for the first time," David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC, said.

"This industry is an important driver for countries’ economic development and growth strategies. Our industry is responsible for creating jobs, lifting people out of poverty, and broadening horizons. But we need international institutions and governments to recognise its strength, to remove restrictive visa and tax regimes and to work with the private sector to stimulate that growth.

“It is clear that the industry is going to be a significant driver of global growth and employment for the next decade. The rise in emerging market destinations explains some of the strong growth in T&T (particularly employment). As the shift from a manufacturing to a services’ economy increases in many countries, so the share of T&T employment out of total employment will increase, as will the share of tourism’s contribution to total GDP. Growing faster than any other economy is China. WTTC forecasts that China will overtake the United States to be the world’s biggest Travel and Tourism economy by 2023."

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