Shining A Light On Opportunity

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) gathered travel and tourism stakeholders and G20 Ministers in a public-private dialogue in Goa to address the sector’s vast potential and challenges.

Joined by India’s Minister of Tourism, the Hon. G. Kishan Reddy, and UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO commended India’s Ministry of Tourism for its leadership during India’s G20 Presidency and highlighted Travel & Tourism’s substantial contribution not only to the global economy but to employment.

Currently representing 9.2% of the world’s GDP and supporting one in every 11 jobs globally, the sector is experiencing remarkable growth, outpacing the global economy by growing twice as fast.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, observed: “It is proven where governments and the private sector work together in Travel & Tourism the economy is stronger, jobs are created, and people get to enjoy and understand other cultures.”

Simpson continued: “Together, businesses and governments can build back a better, stronger, and more resilient sector. Governments also heard first-hand the value of having streamlined visa processes, digital borders, and a strong focus on sustainability. We need each other to achieve this.”

During Simpson’s address to the group, she emphasized the opportunities for investors, governments, and society to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through collaboration.

India’s impressive expansion in travel and tourism was praised as a prime example.

The sector is projected to contribute over INR 16.5TN to India’s economy this year, create 1.6MN new jobs, to reach a total employment figure of nearly 40MN people.

By the end of the decade, Travel & Tourism is forecast to contribute approximately 7% of India’s economy.

Simpson also addressed three key challenges facing the industry:

  • Visa backlogs pose a significant obstacle, with excessive waiting times ranging from 200 days to a year for certain destinations. Investment in digital visas and biometrics, exemplified by Dubai Airport’s ‘smart gates,’ is a successful example of technology streamlining travel processes
  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) plays a vital role in reducing carbon emissions, with the potential to cut emissions by up to 80% compared to traditional jet fuel. However, current production levels fall short and WTTC called on all G20 countries to conduct feasibility studies on SAF, to further facilitate decarbonization.
  • Staff shortages resulting from the pandemic continue to be a challenge. Collaborative efforts between governments and the private sector, along with enhanced training programs and targeted support for women, young people, and high-wage jobs will be crucial in addressing this issue.

The WTTC’s boss also highlighted the groundbreaking environmental and social research conducted by WTTC in collaboration with Saudi-based Sustainable Global Tourism Center.

This research offers comprehensive insights into the sector’s environmental and social impact, tracking data on wages, age groups, and gender, the research aims to drive progress towards the SDGs.

Simpson underscored the potential of young people as a talent pool. With 65% of Indians under 35 years old, India’s G20 presidency recognizes the need to address youth unemployment and create opportunities for this demographic.

New data from WTTC and the Sustainable Global Tourism Center also reveals that the sector experienced a 27.6% growth in youth employment between 2010 and 2019.

Despite dropping in 2020 to almost the same level it was a decade before in 2010, the youth employment sector appears to be rebounding quickly.

The data also shows that travel and tourism’s share of youth employment has grown since 2010, from 6.4% in 2010 to 8.2% in 2021.