Annebeth Wijtenburg, Communications Manager at the WTTC, was able to spare some time with us to share an insight into the organisation.
Inside the Cask: Who is the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and what is its role? How did it first get started?
WTTC is a global organisation representing the Travel & Tourism private sector. Our Members are the Chief Executives of leading global Travel & Tourism companies, from all geographies and industries, including hotels, airlines, airports, tour operators, cruise, car rental, travel agents, rail, and the circular economy.
We research and communicate the socioeconomic impact to governments and wider society, advocating policies that allow the sector to thrive and be sustainable.
Inside the Cask: How important is travel and tourism to the economies of countries? What impact does it have on the local economies?
Travel & Tourism brings huge social and economic benefits to countries as it stimulates economies and provides communities with jobs.
Our sector generates around USD$7.2 trillion to the world economy, which is nearly 10% of total global GDP and supports over 284 million jobs, which is 1 in 11 jobs worldwide.
Travel & Tourism is a force for good as it brings people together and bridges the gap of the unknown, connecting people from different cultures and backgrounds.
Inside the Cask: Are we currently going through a period of higher volatility for travel and tourism given the macro factors impacting on it such as terrorism? Does this volatility impact on the overall global volume and/or value of travel and tourism or does it just shifts movement from one location to another?
Travel & Tourism is an extremely resilient and important sector. It has faced many challenges over the last year, including natural disasters, diseases, terrorist attacks, and political turmoil, however travellers have shown to be more resilient than ever.
What we see is that people do not stop travelling but change destinations and visit a place that they perceive as safer, as we have seen this summer where visitors swapped places like Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia for Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria.
We expect our sector to have grown by over 3% in 2016, outpacing global economic growth for the 6th consecutive year. On average Travel & Tourism grows about 1% faster than the global economy, which shows that despite economies softening our sector continues to increase.
Inside the Cask: How important are the commercial revenues generated in global travel retail to stakeholders involved in travel & tourism?
The Travel & Tourism sector and the Retail sector are clearly making significant contributions to the economy in their own right, but as a combined force, the emerging trend of Shopping Tourism will without doubt generate an even more positive impact on economic wealth and job creation.
Shopping tourism is already a major part of our sector; it’s getting bigger and the cities that take a long-term strategic approach playing to their individual brand strengths will see the benefits of this market segment within our sector.
For a report on Shopping Tourism – click this link for the report from the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Inside the Cask: What is the WTTC view of Brexit and its impact?
It is still difficult to predict what exactly the impact of Brexit will be to our sector as this will depend on triggering of Article 50 and the way the UK government will negotiate terms.
At the moment we believe that Britain’s Travel & Tourism GDP growth is expected to hold up throughout 2017. However, we will likely see a small impact on outbound travel as the UK’s spending power has been impacted by the drop of the pound. Therefore destinations that are heavily reliant on the UK as a source market could be at risk from seeing a reduction in their Travel & Tourism visitor exports from the UK, such as Spain, Ireland, France, Belgium, and Cyprus.
It is important to recognise that Travel & Tourism thrives in an open environment. When negotiations start we urge for those at the table to pursue policies that facilitate travel for business and leisure purposes, such as: maintaining open trade relationships; allowing mobility of labour and visa free travel; and encouraging open skies and greater security cooperation.
Thanks to Annebeth for the chat!
Note that she has also written on the topic of 5 reasons “you should build a career in travel & tourism”:
- High Demand for Jobs
- Attractive career programmes
- A wide range of career opportunities
- All jobs in one place
- Bottom up and long term vision