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.


Erdogan hints Turkey may ban some Israeli goods because of Gaza violence

Updated 22 May 2018
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Erdogan hints Turkey may ban some Israeli goods because of Gaza violence

  • Erdogan is campaigning for re-election in June
  • Comments follow deaths in Gaza

President Tayyip Erdogan has hinted that Turkey might consider imposing a ban on imports of some Israeli goods over the killing of Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces on the Gaza border, media reported on Tuesday.

Erdogan, who is campaigning for re-election in June, last week hosted Muslim leaders who condemned the events in Gaza and the opening of the United States embassy in Jerusalem.

Speaking to reporters on a return flight from Bosnia on Sunday, Erdogan said the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had recommended that a boycott be imposed on Israeli goods.

“I hope that OIC member countries implement a boycott decision in line with the recommendation. Consequently, no product should be brought from there any more. Naturally we will assess this situation in the same way,” Hurriyet newspaper reported Erdogan as saying.

A declaration by the OIC on Friday repeated a call for countries to ban “products of the illegal Israeli settlements from entering their markets,” referring to goods produced in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

It did not seek a ban on all Israeli goods.

The declaration also called for “economic restrictions (on) countries, officials, parliaments, companies or individuals” who followed the United States and moved their embassies to Jerusalem.

US President Donald Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and shift the US embassy there reversed decades of US policy, upsetting the Arab world and Western allies.

Erdogan said last week that Trump’s move had emboldened Israel to put down the protests at the border with Gaza with excessive force, likening the actions of Israeli forces to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews in World War Two, when millions were killed in concentration camps.

The violence in Gaza, where more than 60 Palestinians were killed on May 14 led to Turkey and Israel expelling each other’s senior diplomats. Erdogan also traded barbs on Twitter with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel was the 10th-largest market for Turkish exports in 2017, buying some $3.4 billion of goods, according to IMF statistics.

Data from Turkey’s statistics institute showed that trade volume between the two was at $4.9 billion in 2017. Turkey, which has a trade surplus with Israel, imports plastics and mineral oils among other goods from there.

Erdogan said Turkey would reconsider its ties with Israel.

“We will put our relations on the table, in particular our economic and trade relations. We have an election ahead of us. After the election we will take our steps in this direction,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.