Air travel and consumerism

According to the World Tourism Organisation  (   ) currently around  800 – 900  million people travelled internationally  each
year, and the figures are rising.   International tourism (excluding domestic tourism)is
worth around US$ 500 billion and growing despite a world recession.  
UNWTO World Tourism Barometer
The World Tourism Barometer for the 3rd Quarter of 2010 (October 2010) is at
This states that the number of international tourist arrivals (not only those coming by air) were:
2000       683 million   arrivals
2005      801 million
2008       919 million
2009       880  million (down due to the recession)
2000       392.2 million arrivals
2005       439.9 million
2008       486.3 million
2009       459.3 million
of which
Western Europe   (France and Germany  
2000       139.7 million arrivals
2005       141.7 million
2008        153.2 million
2009      146.0 million
Northern Europe (UK and Scandinavia   )
2000      43.7 million   arrivals
2005       52.8 million
2008       56.4 million
2009       53.4 million

Tourism Concern     says:

– Global Tourism worth US$ 733 billion (2006) *  
– Tourism employs 8% of the global workforce

– 1.6 billion international tourists by 2020

Unregulated tourism development is continuing to devastate environments, degrade
cultures and destroy traditional livelihoods.  
*[cf. article below says the global airline industry was worth $429.9 billion  in 2007].


However another estimate is that:


Global tourism worth US$ 8 trillion in 2008: WTTC  


6.3.2008     AFP    


BERLIN – GLOBAL tourism is expected to be worth almost eight trillion dollars  
(5.2 trillion euros) this year, up 3%, as the economic outlook dims, World Travel
and Tourism Council
said on Thursday.

In 2007, tourism spending grew 3.9% but this year, US economic problems, high
fuel prices and concern about climate change could temper growth, the WTTC said
in a study presented at the Berlin tourism fair.

At the same time, tourism, which is widely believed to be the world’s largest
single industry, ‘is expected to generate close to eight trillion dollars in 2008,
rising to approximately 15 trillion dollars over the next 10 years,’ the WTTC

‘Continued strong expansion in emerging countries – both as tourism destinations
and as an increasing source of international visitors – means that the industry’s
prospects remain bright into the medium-term,’ WTTC president Jean-Claude Baumgarten
said in a statement.

Chinese tourists were forecast to exceed Japanese and Germans this year to move
into second spot behind citizens of the United States, the council said.

‘Even in countries where economic growth slows, there is likely to be a switch
from international to domestic travel rather than a contraction in demand,’ it

The tourism sector, which employs around 240 million people worldwide, should
create another  6 million jobs this year.

By 2018, tourism spending is expected to grow by an average annual rate of 4.4%,
the WTTC said.




but in a long article from 2008 on the Future of Tourism website at 

some of the comments made  include:


In economic terms, the WTTC anticipates that tourism will have a global value
of US$ 10.8 trillion by 2018, almost double its present worth.

The UN’s World Tourism Organisation reckons that, by 2020, the number of travelling
tourists will approach 1.6 billion, double the number in 2008.

Those directly employed by tourism worldwide will rise from 238 million  in 2008  to
296 million, or one in every 10.8 jobs, by 2018.

The USA will build 720,000 new hotel rooms over the next ten years, and a further
432,000 will be built in Asia over the same period.

By 2018, tourism is projected by the WTTC to be worth 80% of the GDP of Antigua
and Barbuda, with 95% of all jobs on the two islands expected to be related in
some way to tourism – the highest dependency on the planet.

Yet the WTTC predicates these figures on the price of oil staying at around US$
130 a barrel – previous, higher figures were based on US$ 103 a barrel.

The director of Tourism Concern feels that the consequences of unabated tourism
will be grim, from the point of view of damage to local society and economy of
the areas being developed for tourism.

Despite the WTTC projections, most observers argue that travel can’t continue
in its post-war vein. ‘International arrivals can’t grow at the same rate, simply
because, in the long term, the price of flying will go up with the cost of fuel,’
says Justin Francis, managing director of ‘In effect, we
will wind the clock back 20 years to the days before cheap flights, when we all
took one long summer break and perhaps one other holiday.

A spokesperson for ABTA said   ‘The £15 return flight to Milan is unsustainable
– they can still do it for now with clever marketing, but its days are numbered”

“‘Travel per se is good. Some things, such as massive fuel consumption if the
world is running out of oil, aren’t good. These two things don’t have to be linked.

There’s a widespread acceptance within the tourism industry that whichever direction
aviation goes, the nature of tourism is going to change. ‘The growth of tourism
has been fuelled by increasing prosperity, longer holidays and cheap fuel.

The general consensus is that the responsible tourism sector will benefit from
our changing travelling habits

And yet, at the heart of responsible, or indeed, any form of travel, lies a quandary.
Tourism can provide huge benefits for local economies, particularly in developing
nations; flying may be part of the problem of climate change but to cut it out
– either on moral grounds or because high fuel prices make it unaffordable for
the majority – would have hugely negative impacts on those communities. Can this
ever be resolved?

Tourism Concern’s director, Tricia Barnett. “We need to find a middle path. We
just have to find better ways of taking our holidays – not going to Dubai for
three days or New York for shopping when the pound is strong against the dollar”.      This
could potentially pose a long-term threat to tourism with a conscience. “There’s
a chance that the whole responsible tourism sector could be derailed if the prevailing
view is that the most important thing to do is to stop flying,” says Francis.
2I suspect it’s going to be an everlasting sticking point.”

“Does the good for local communities and job creation and local environments
that can come from tourism be outweighed by the carbon cost of travelling there?”

And do we care? Most evidence from major opinion polls suggests we talk a good
game about climate change but can’t kick our kerosene habit. ‘Ask anyone if they
care about climate change or don’t want their holiday to mess up a destination
and of course they’ll say yes,’ says ABTA’s Tipton. ‘But when push comes to shove,
we find people will always vote for a holiday abroad over a soggy break in the

The emergence of China and India as major international tourism players, as with
their economies in general, appears, on the face of it, to present huge challenges
for global travel. Does the capacity exist for aircraft and fuels, and can the
world’s coastlines and beautiful places cope with what could amount to millions
more visitors?

According to the Pacific Asia Travel Association, tourism in that region is expected
to soar, with nearly 500 million visitors arriving by 2010, generating US$ 4.6
trillion in revenue.

According to the WTTC, China is set to provide more than 100 million visitors
for other destinations by 2018, as well as employing 98 million people in its
internal tourism industry.

China’s tourism sector is projected to grow by an average of 8.8 per cent a year
for each of the next ten years and be worth US$2.1trillion by 2018.

While huge changes may take place in the nature of holidays, the number of British
tourists will remain broadly static, estimated at 46 million holidays a year into
the medium term, according to ABTA.

see also
The Global Airline Industry will reach a value of $711 billion in 2012, forecasts
New Report


Report Buyer, the online destination for business intelligence for major industry
sectors, has added a new report which offers guidance to the global airlines industry.
The report, &lquot;Airlines: Global Industry Guide – Transport and Logistics&rquot; ……..includes
detailed data on market size and segmentation, textual examinations of key trends
and competitive landscape, and profiles of the leading companies, providing expert
analysis on a global, regional and country basis.
Key information in the report includes:
•     The global airlines industry grew by 11.3% in 2007 to reach a value of $429.9

•     In 2012 the industry is forecast to have a value of $711 billion, an increase
of 65.4% since 2007

•     The industry grew by 5.6% in 2007 to reach a volume of 2,076 million passengers•     In 2012 the industry is forecast to have a volume of 2,362 million passengers,
an increase of 13.7% since 2007

•     The domestic segment dominated in the global airline industry and accounted
for 1.4 billion passengers in 2007, equivalent to 66.5% of the industry’s overall

•     The Americas region is the largest airline industry in the world accounting
for 51.1% of the global industry’s value