Brussels, 19 July 2012
Tourism: Commission welcomes OECD report indicating revival
International tourism arrivals have returned rapidly to steady growth, showing tourism’s resilience to the effects of the global economic and financial crisis, according to a new OECD report. “OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2012” indicates that OECD countries were the destination of choice for 66% of global arrivals in 2010 with EU countries accounting for 50.2%.
In 2010, total international arrivals in all countries reached 940 million, 6.7% above the 2009 figure, with most growth taking place in Asia and the Pacific. Overall, international arrivals increased by 4% to OECD countries and 2.7% to the EU.
The report notes that tourism represents a significant share of the service economy of OECD and EU members, accounting for up to a third of service exports and up to 10% of GDP.
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship welcomed the OECD report and its recommendations. He said: “The OECD's figures confirm that if Europe wants to remain the world's number one tourist destination we need to modernise and invest more in quality, new technology and skills. The tourism industry needs to cater to an aging clientele, changing lifestyles and consumer demands, explore new ways to attract more international visitors and convince more Europeans to spend their holidays in the EU. With this in mind we launched the "50,000 tourists" pilot initiative to promote travel between South America and the European Union, and a communication campaign to promote the image of Europe in selected emerging long-haul markets."
Yves Leterme, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, said: “Tourism is directly responsible for over 5% of employment in OECD member countries. But in many countries, tourism jobs remain vacant due to a lack of appropriately skilled workers. There is a need for governments to assume a greater leadership role in shaping the training and education agenda. A national tourism strategy, including a workforce development strategy, is necessary to fully address labour and skills shortages.”
Growing importance of emerging tourism destinations
The report underlines the growing importance of emerging tourism destinations:
Disposable income and spending on travel and dining are directly related, as is the demand for quality, specialisation and uniqueness. While globalisation allows for greater market reach, it also increases international competition.
Three overall policy recommendations
To maintain a leading position, to adapt to innovative demands from consumers and to allow the tourism sector to grow, the report endorses three overall policy recommendations addressed to national authorities:
Link to the OECD report: www.oecd.org/cfe/tourism