Tourism leaders forecast continued growth for 2008

Baumgarten: Dubai represents a nation that embraces the travel and tourism industry

Despite repercussions of the ongoing global credit crunch, travel and tourism leaders believe that the industry will be moderately impacted and continue to grow during 2008 at a reduced pace, according to recent research produced by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Oxford Economics (OE).

International tourism arrivals increased in this year by nearly six per cent per cent, totalling to nearly 900 million tourists and marking the fourth successive year that arrivals’ growth has exceeded its long-standing trend of four per cent according to UNWTO figures.
WTTC president Jean-Claude Baumgarten stated, “Tourism growth has been particularly rapid in developing countries with the fastest average growth in tourism arrivals in the Middle East region.
These countries are not only recognising the development potential of travel and tourism and therefore investing heavily in new infrastructure and facilities but their citizens are also seeing rapid economic growth boost their incomes beyond the level where international travel becomes both a feasible and desired option.”
Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) director general Khalid Bin Sulayem said, “A continued policy for tourism has helped Dubai’s Travel & Tourism industry accelerate and this growth will help it also rise above the potential economic downturn.”
The industry faced challenges in the year ahead, with deteriorating economic conditions, however the slowdown was likely to have a limited impact due to the growth of emerging markets and the easing in monetary policy by central banks.
Higher energy prices are a two pronged challenge as they squeeze household budgets globally and raise the cost of a key input for the travel and tourism industry.
Baumgarten stated that even this challenge has a positive angle, explaining how “higher revenues are boosting oil producer’s incomes and raising available funds for investment in diversification projects often focussing on tourism’s undoubted potential.”
He said that Dubai represented a nation that had truly embraced travel and tourism as a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity. In recognition of the vision and commitment of Dubai Government it will host this year’s Global Travel & Tourism Summit along with pioneering travel and tourism companies including DTCM, Emirates Group, Jumeirah International, Nakheel and Dubailand.
The 8th Global Travel & Tourism Summit will be hosted by the Jumeirah Group and will take place on April 20 to 22.