WTTC study focuses on Chinas growing travel and tourism economy

The World Travel & Tourism Council has updated its report on China in an attempt to measure the runaway growth of China's tourism economy. 

WTTC President Jean-Claude Baumgarten said the WTTC would "normally wait five or even 10 years before returning to a country to update the report," but "it is clear that China's travel and tourism industry is moving at the speed of light."

The WTTC report forecasts travel and tourism consumption, investment, government spending and exports to grow at 14%, or $353.7 billion in 2006. The 10-year annualized growth, from 2007 to 2016, is projected to be 8.7% per annum.

Foreign visitors are projected to spend $75.1 billion in 2006 and will comprise 7.4% of total exports. The direct impact of travel and tourism will account for 2.9% of the total Gross Domestic Product. With the indirect effect added, it will account for 13.7% of the GDP. 

Tourism will account for 17.4 million jobs in China, or 2.3% of the total employment. In terms of both direct and indirect impact, the industry will account for 77.6 million jobs, or 10.2% of total jobs depend on travel and tourism.

The WTTC report made a number of policy suggestions to the Chinese government to encourage more tourism growth, including:

  • Develop the budget hotel sector; encourage open markets and open skies;

  • Develop a regulatory framework for the timeshare industry;

  • Expand English-language education and make it a required course for travel and tourism programs;

  • Develop access to capital and encourage long-term investment; and

  • Promote responsibility in natural, social and cultural environments with clear procedures and guidelines.
  • To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to David Cogswell at [email protected].

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