Tourism sector is key driver
Tuesday, July 10 2012
THE EDITOR: Minister of Tourism, Stephan Cadiz reminds us that tourism is an industry all by itself and is important in what it can and should be able to contribute to this nation’s GDP.
Allow me to elaborate further being a British ex-pat living in Trinidad, with five years in Tobago as well as time in Trinidad and a background in automation in finance and tourism in particular.
It is difficult to not view the UK’s Travel and Tourism industry (TTI) to gain some perspective of the importance of the tourism industry sector. This sector in the UK produced £101 billion, which translates into 6.7 percent of the total UK GDP value. Automotive manufacturing was 2.3 percent, slightly, more than one third in size of tourism!
The tourism sector is therefore the key driver in growing economies forwards as it has been consistently proving to be the fastest sector to show a consistent increase for two decades in the UK, and this reflects the picture globally. The UK’s tourism sector is expected to grow by 4.1 percent over the next ten years, which is faster than all other sectors forecasts.
Surprisingly for some, this new research in the UK has highlighted that Travel and Tourism employs a similar number of employees, as does the financial sector, for which the UK is the world’s largest Financial Centre (Global Financial Centre’s Index based on 60 indices). That is 18 jobs, compared to 13 jobs in the financial sector, 12 jobs in the communications sector and 11 jobs in automotive manufacturing.
Globally the TTI industry sector contributes 2.8 percent to world GDP at US$2 trillion, equal to Global Education and twice the GDP produced by the world’s automotive manufacturing (does not include retail ramifications) industry. Perhaps a more significant measurement is in 2011 Travel and Tourism provided 211 million jobs, which translates into US$6.3 trillion or 9.1 percent of world GDP
Your new Minister of Tourism is correct in his bold statement that without being taken more seriously as an industry, this nation’s tourism sector will remain behind many countries including other Caribbean islands as they do. What I do find to be a serious disadvantage is the three prongs that fund the drive behind tourism in TT; that is to have a separate budget in the Ministry of Tourism as well as the TT Development Agency and the Tourism Department in the THA. Each is diluted in strength by being separate.
Most of Tobago’s successful tourism, in the years 2000-2005, came through the then Hilton Hotel, who marketed business seminars to the UK. This marketing activity over spilled into mainstream bookings, as little else in TT national marketing could be seen when compared to the marketing efforts of Jamaica, Barbados, Granada and St Lucia. Most people get off at Barbados and a handful reach Tobago. The good news is that tourism is so low on the ground it can only go upwards with the right mix of ingredients and wisely invested budgets across three offices of Tourism that Tobago has to deal with.
I believe our newly appointed minister can achieve success in all these matters and I sincerely wish Minister Cadiz well in his new role.