Classified as “Tourism and travel-related services”, this sector includes services provided by hotels and restaurants (including catering), travel agencies and tour operator services, tourist guide services and other related services. For an overview of the classification used by the WTO, click here (link with WTO classification list: only section on tourism services)
Globally, the tourism sector contributed 9 % of the GDP of the world economy and accounted for 8% of global employment in 2010, providing some 235 million jobs worldwide (World Travel and Tourism Council 2011 Research Report). The tourism sector has experienced continuous growth over the last decades and proven comparatively resilient to global economic downturns.
In terms of absolute figures international tourist arrivals increased from 882 million in 2009 to 940 million in 2010.In line with the increase in numbers of tourist arrivals receipts improved from the 2009 figure of $US852 billion to $US940 billion. (UNWTO Tourism barometer 2011)
Africa was the only region that did not suffer a decline in tourist arrivals in 2009 and continued with its growth trend in 2010. The highest growth was experienced in Sub-Saharan region which registered a growth of 14% during the period –fuelled by the FIFA Soccer World Cup. Tourism receipts grew from $US28 billion to $US34.2 billion.
SADC’s market share for tourist receipts to Africa has been consistently been above 40%, with South Africa being the dominant destination accounting for 47% of the total arrivals to the region in 2008. Tourist arrivals and tourist receipts in SADC have grown continuously, from 5.6 bl USD in 2000 to 14.5 bl USD in 2008.
Tourism Services is one of the six SADC priority sectors for liberalization in trade in services. Whereas most SADC Member States have a liberalized some aspects of tourism services already under the WTO (such as Hotel Services), other aspects have not been liberalized. The negotiations on trade in services among SADC Member States offer an opportunity to remove further bottlenecks and enhance the competitiveness of the region as a tourism destination.
For further reading, consult the WTO background Note on Tourism Services, and the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report.
For further information on Tourism Services, visit the website of UNWTO (link), the World Travel and Tourism Council which publishes annual country and regional studies (link www.wttc.org) and for SADC of the Regional Tourism Association of Southern Africa (Retosa).