Global tourism predicted to slow after best year ever

The World Travel and Tourism Council says it has seen a recovery in markets such as Africa. Above, a man walks on the land at Ha Mampho village, Lesotho. (AP)
Updated 22 March 2018
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Global tourism predicted to slow after best year ever

LONDON: The travel and tourism sector is set for a modest slowdown in 2018 as a result of higher oil prices and airfares, a year after it experienced its best year on record, according to a leading global industry body.
In its annual Economic Impact Report, the World Travel and Tourism Council said Thursday that the sector was responsible for the creation of 7 million new jobs worldwide in 2017, or one in five new jobs.
That was due largely to the fact that the sector outperformed the global economy for the seventh year running, growing by 4.6 percent against 3 percent. The sector, according to the organization, outperformed all others.
“2017 was the best year on record for the travel & tourism sector,” said Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the WTTC. “We have seen increased spending as a result of growing consumer confidence, both domestically and internationally, recovery in markets in North Africa and Europe previously impacted by terrorism and continued outbound growth from China and India.”
Though the WTTC forecasts 2018 growth of 4 percent as a result of higher oil prices and airfares as well as expectations of rising interest rates in countries such as the US and the UK, it kept its long-term forecasts unchanged, with average annual growth of 3.8 percent over the next decade. By then, it expects the sector to support more than 400 million jobs globally, or one in nine of all jobs.
“As our sector continues to become more important both as a generator of GDP and jobs, our key challenge will be ensuring this growth is sustainable and inclusive,” Guevara said. “Already in 2017, we have begun to see a backlash against tourism in some key destinations.”
So-called overtourism is imperiling cherished buildings, straining infrastructure and harming the experience of travelers and local residents alike. Tourism-phobia has become increasingly prevalent, particularly in European destinations such as Barcelona and Venice, where visitors crowd the same places at the same time. The WTTC is involved in efforts to spread tourists around destinations and smooth out demand over time.
Oxford Economics helped in the compilation of the report, which covers 185 countries.


Potential SABIC deal would affect Saudi Aramco IPO time frame, says CEO Nasser

Updated 20 July 2018
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Potential SABIC deal would affect Saudi Aramco IPO time frame, says CEO Nasser

JEDDAH: A potential deal to buy a stake in petrochemical maker SABIC would affect the time frame of Saudi Aramco's initial public offering (IPO), the oil firm's president and CEO Amin H. Nasser said Friday. 

The IPO of around 5 percent of Aramco, which was initially to take place this year but is now more likely to happen later, would be the world's biggest listing, raising up to $100 billion.

Nasser said that buying a stake in a chemical company like SABIC would positively affect Aramco's revenue, Al Arabiya reported.

“We are still in the very early stages of the discussion to buy a stake in SABIC,” the Aramco CEO said.

“Aramco is ready for the initial offer and the timing remains subject to the state's decision.”

Saudi Aramco said on Thursday it is looking at the possibility of buying a stake in SABIC, a move that could boost the state oil giant’s market valuation ahead of the planned IPO.
Aramco said in a statement that it was in “very early-stage discussions” with the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) to acquire the stake in SABIC via a private transaction. It has no plans to acquire any publicly held shares, it said.
In a separate statement, PIF also said talks about a sale were in early stages. “There is a possibility that no agreement will be reached in relation to this potential transaction,” it said.