The hotel, catering and tourism industry

Compared  to  other  sectors  of  the  global  economy,  the  industry  is  one of  the  fastest growing, accounting for more than one third of the total global services trade. International tourist arrivals have grown by 4.3 per cent between 1995 and 2008. The  sector  has  benefited  from  the  process  of  globalization  and  from  the  constantly falling relative costs of travel. In 1950 the travel industry recorded 25 million international tourist arrivals while there were 277 million in 1980, 438 million in 1990, 684 million in 2000, 904 million in 2007 and 922 million in 2008 (see figure 1). Since 1990, international arrivals have increased by 4.3 per cent annually and the UNWTO expects them to rise by 4 per cent per annum over the next 20 years. During the past 25 years, international tourist arrivals  have  increased  about  one  percentage  point  faster  than  global  GDP  in  real  terms. After  an  increase  in  2008  (US$942  billion), international  tourism  receipts decreased by 5.7 per cent in real terms to US$852 billion in 2009. Over the past decade, international tourism arrivals have differed across regions of the world. In emerging regions, international tourist arrivals received by developing countries have  continuously  risen  from  31  per  cent  in  1990  to  45  per  cent  in  2008.  Asia  and  the Pacific have seen a significant annual average growth rate of 7.2 per cent, including 21 per cent  in  Hong  Kong  (China),  11  per  cent  in  China,  and  10  per  cent  in  Japan.  North America‘s arrivals grew by 2.4 per cent, with the United States stagnating at -0.1 per cent. Western Europe had an average growth rate of 2.2 per cent. Although OECD countries saw their  international  arrivals  strongly  decline, during  the  final  years  of  the 1990s,  they continued playing a major role in international tourism, which remains the fastest growing element  of  the  sector.  In  2008,  OECD  countries  still  accounted  for  57  per  cent  of international tourist arrivals and for 67 per cent of corresponding travel receipts.

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