27 September 2011

Tourism industry must find new ways to compete in global marketplace

Emerging markets the place of future growth

South Africa's Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk. South Africa's Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

The priority is to protect our existing market share in traditional markets whilst recognising that the long-term growth opportunities lie in developing additional markets. Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalwyk

South Africa’s Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has challenged South Africa’s tourism industry to find new and improved ways to compete in the global marketplace.

Van Schalkwyk was speaking at the recent Cape Town and Western Cape Destination Management Conference held in Cape Town.

He said that despite experiencing various setbacks and turbulence over the last 2 years, the global travel and tourism industry is still one of the world’s fastest growing economic sectors, contributing 9.2% of global domestic product, 4.8% of the world exports, and 9.2% of world investment.

In 2011, tourism’s total economic contribution is expected to account for more than 9.1% or R40 trillion (US$5 987 billion) of global GDP, and 258 million jobs worldwide.

He said globally international tourist arrivals have also achieved exceptional growth, having increased from 528 million in 1995 to 935 million by 2010, doubling in 15 years. Expectations are that it will almost double again to reach nearly 1.6 billion by 2020.

Van Schalkwyk said it was easy to get lost in these numbers and think the road ahead was paved with gold, but that it should be understood that the global marketplace will become ever more competitive and trading conditions will be disrupted from time to time.

'On a global scale, we should not expect the recovery to speed up too quickly. Forecasts indicate overall growth in international arrivals of between 4 and 5% for 2011. The forecasted growth figure for Africa is between 4 and 7% for 2011, compared to 2 and 4% growth for Europe.’

Competing in the global marketplace is one key to tourism growth, economic growth and job creation in South Africa and emerging markets offer new opportunities.

'With at least half of international arrivals being from emerging markets in 2010, compared with just 30% in 1980, it is expected that discretionary spending and consumption in these markets will grow dramatically in the next decade,' he continued.

'Looking at the global picture, it is impossible not to note the shift eastwards, and to our continent. The mature markets in Europe and the United States remain large in absolute terms, but their future growth will be significantly outstripped by that of markets in Asia, Latin America and on our own continent,' Van Schalkwyk concluded.