Global travel and tourism spending broke the $6,000b (£3,400b) barrier for the first time in 2005, and is predicted to grow to $6,500b (£3,700b) this year, new research has revealed.
The 2006 Tourism Satellite Accounting research, released this week by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and Accenture, also anticipated that increases in international travel would push global tourism revenue from foreign visitors up by 6.5% to nearly $900b (£513b) in 2006.
Despite the disruption caused by worldwide disasters - such as the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and terrorist attacks in London and Egypt - the industry grew by 5.7% from 2004 to 2005 and is expected to grow by a further 4.6% this year.
The tourism industry will generate 3.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of nations worldwide by the end of 2006, though indirect contributions will swell that figure to 10.3% of GDP. This will produce 2.5 million new jobs, taking the total number of jobs in the industry to 76.6 million, or 2.8% of world employment.
WTTC president Jean-Claude Baumgarten said: "Global tourism is setting new records, but what is really amazing is how smaller developing countries are using travel and tourism as catalysts for broader economic development."
He added: "We are witnessing the power, speed and vitality of travel and tourism, and how they can bring economic opportunity and jobs to people and economies seeking sustainable development."
By Emily Manson
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