OECD Tourism Trends and Policies

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Building on the work of the OECD Tourism Committee, within the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development, this periodic report is an international reference and benchmark on how effectively countries are supporting competitiveness, innovation and growth in tourism, through thematic chapters and 51 country-specific policy and statistical profiles.

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12 July 2012
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The report provides comparative knowledge, both policy and data, through thematic chapters and country-specific policy and statistical profiles. The report highlights key tourism policy developments, focuses on issues that rank high on the policy agenda in the field of tourism and provides a broad overview and interpretation of tourism trends in the OECD area and beyond.

Tourism Trends and Policies is becoming an international reference and benchmark on how effectively countries are supporting competitiveness, innovation and growth in tourism, and shed light on policies and practices associated with this. It is published on a two-year basis. The 2012 edition has been undertaken in co-operation with the European Commission.

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  • Foreword

    This third edition of OECD Tourism Trends and Policies provides comprehensive policy analysis and statistical data building on the work of the Organisation’s Tourism Committee and, for the first time, in partnership with the European Commission. The report serves as a tool to analyse tourism trends and policies, and reforms in organisation and governance in 51 countries, including all OECD and EU members.

  • Executive Summary

    OECD Tourism Trends and Policies analyses the key policy reforms and developments to boost competitiveness and sustainability in tourism for each OECD country, and selected non-members. The OECD has developed a new strategic partnership with the European Commission to provide more in-depth analysis of recent trends and policy issues, expanding overall coverage to 51 countries, including all EU members.

  • Tourism Governance in OECD Countries

    Effective governance practices must reflect the changing business and policy environment, and the evolving roles and competencies of government tourism organisations. Developments in the macropolicy environment favour a more collaborative approach, encouraging policy development in conjunction with the tourism industry, as well as an emphasis on regional or local level decision-making. Developing a multi-actor system that includes public-private partnerships and greater horizontal and vertical co-ordination of relevant government bodies requires consideration of the accepted elements of good governance, both at the central and sub-national levels. Governance can also be improved through both institutional and human capacity building, ensuring institutions have well-defined objectives and clear mandates, and effective leadership and political support. Mechanisms to improve co-ordination between central and sub-national governments include development of tourism strategies, use of contracts and creation of joint committees. At an industry level, governments are encouraging the development of a single peak tourism industry association to facilitate more co-ordinated industry representation. Mechanisms to manage the interface with industry include the establishment of representative associations and Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) that provide a forum for co-operation and policy debate.

  • Evaluating Tourism Policies and Programmes

    Evaluation of the economic contribution and impact of the tourism industry requires consistent approaches to evidence gathering yet tourism evaluation has lagged behind other sectors and industries in developing accepted methodologies. There is a need to raise the standard of evidence-based policy and programme development. This review of evaluation practices recommends various approaches to the evaluation of tourism policies and programmes that will allow for greater comparability and knowledge sharing to develop capacity and capabilities. Application of evaluation frameworks will help policy makers to increase overall competitiveness, sustainability and performance of tourism policies and programmes. Further initiatives are suggested to assess the net impact of activities carried out by tourism promotion agencies and more accurately attribute outcomes to tourism policy. The chapter identifies the need for suitable guidance and training materials on applied evaluation approaches, tools and techniques. A road map for the compendium of evaluation methods is also presented. The detailed preparation and step-by-step application of this road map forms one of the main conclusions and recommendations of the chapter alongside specific actions to further promote tourism evaluation.

  • Policy Approaches to Skills Development in Tourism

    Confronted with a looming labour and skills shortage, employers must develop strategies that will allow them to remain competitive with a smaller but better trained workforce adapted to an ageing clientele, changing lifestyles and consumer demands, the increased use of information and communication technologies, and globalisation, among other drivers. Furthermore, the seasonal and cyclical nature of the tourism industry makes the option of migrant workers an attractive solution for many employers, as they can expand and contract their workforce as demand fluctuates but it does not contribute to addressing the skills shortage. The labour-intensive nature of the tourism industry has a direct impact on the productivity of the industry, which tends to be lower than many other services. However, measuring productivity in tourism has proven to be very difficult because it requires that the quality aspects of both the inputs and outputs be taken into account. Several countries have recognised that a comprehensive national tourism strategy, that includes a workforce development strategy and tripartite partnerships between governments, industry and education, is necessary to fully address labour and skills shortages.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Country Profiles

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    • Introduction to country profiles

      This chapter presents policy and statistical profiles relating to the tourism sector in 51 countries – including all OECD and EU members. Eleven emerging tourism economies are also included: Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, India, Indonesia, Montenegro, Serbia and South Africa.

    • Australia

      In 2010-11, tourism generated about AUD 34.6 billion, an increase of 2.5% on the previous 12-month period. Australian tourism GDP is also 6.7% higher compared to the pre-global financial crisis period in 2007-08. However, tourism’s share of Australia’s GDP has fallen slightly from 2.7% from in 2007-08 to 2.5% in 2010-11. Tourism in Australia employed 513 700 people, approximately 4.5% of total employment in Australia in 2010-11.

    • Austria

      In 2011, the number of international tourist arrivals in hotels and similar establishments (including commercial holiday dwellings), in Austria was 18 million (+3.7% compared to 2010). One of the fastest growing source markets in 2011 was the Russian Federation, with a total of 400 400 arrivals (an increase of 31% on the previous year), while nights spent increased by 25.6% to 1.5 million.

    • Belgium

      In Belgium, tourism is an exclusive competency of the three regions. This section provides a national overview of tourism in the country, as does the statistical annex. The profile also presents the governance and policy initiatives of the Flanders and the Walloon regions.

    • Canada

      Tourism (domestic and international) contributes approximately 1.9% of Canada’s GDP and accounted for 34.2% of national employment in 2010. The sector’s contribution in both these measures has remained broadly stable over the past five years. Tourism generated 1.7 million jobs in 2010, an increase of 1.8% on 2009.

    • Chile

      Tourism in Chile has shown strong growth in recent years, with international arrivals rising on average by 5.2% a year over the past ten years to reach 2.8 million visitors in 2010. International tourism receipts, expressed in US dollars, have tended to grow more rapidly, by 6.1% a year on average between 2004 and 2010, and by an average of 7.4% a year in the last ten years.

    • Czech Republic

      The share of tourism in the Czech Republic's GDP in 2009, calculated by the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) method, was 2.9% and domestic tourism consumption amounted to EUR 3 937 million according to the latest available data. The number of people employed in tourism was 239 500 in 2009 and the sector's share of total employment has remained relatively stable at around 4.6% in recent years.

    • Denmark

      The contribution of the tourism sector to Denmark’s gross value added is given as 3.3% when both direct and indirect effects are taken into account, and 2.1% taking into account the direct effects only. There is a substantial deficit on the tourism account, with payments by Danes travelling abroad exceeding travel receipts from foreign tourists by some DKK 19 billion in 2010.

    • Estonia

      In 2011, 1.8 million foreign tourists stayed overnight at the accommodation establishments of Estonia. In addition, about 0.7 million stayed with friends or relatives or at their own apartments.The total estimated number of foreign overnight visitors in 2011 was therefore about 2.5 million (+16% compared with 2010). The number of nights spent was 3.75 million (17% up on 2010). Thus, in 2011 inbound tourism to Estonia increased significantly compared with 2010 which was already a record year for Estonia. The driving force behind the increase was the creation of new transport connections with many European target markets (especially low-cost flights). Also, Tallinn’s status as the European Capital of Culture, abundance of cultural events, and long-term co-operation of the entrepreneurs, the state and municipalities in developing tourism services and promoting Estonia in various target markets, have increased Estonia’s attractiveness as a tourist destination. Overnights on holiday trips increased by 20% and overnights on business trips increased by 25% while overnights on other trips decreased by 3%.

    • Finland

      The global economic crisis has had some negative effects on the tourism sector in Finland, and international tourism flows declined in 2009. However, 2010 saw an improvement in both the number of travellers and tourism receipts.

    • France

      France holds a paramount position in international tourism. It ranks first in the world in terms of international tourist arrivals (77.1 million in 2010) and third in terms of international tourism receipts (EUR 42.7 billion). The main origin countries for tourists to France in 2010 were the UK (accounting for 15.7% of all arrivals based on provisional estimates for the year), Germany (14.8%), Belgium (12.9%), Italy (9.3%), and the Netherlands (9.1%). These five markets together accounted for nearly two-thirds (61.7%) of all international arrivals.

    • Germany

      Tourism is an important sector of the German economy and contributes to both growth and employment. Around 2.9 million jobs depend directly and indirectly on the tourism sector, which also provides approximately 95 800 training places (2010).

    • Greece

      The total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP, including its wider economic impact, is expected to rise on average by 4% a year from EUR 35.3 billion (15.8% of GDP) in 2011 to EUR 52.2 billion (18.5%) by 2021. The total contribution of the tourism sector to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry, is expected to rise by 2.1% a year from 768 000 jobs (18.4% of total employment) in 2011 to 944 000 jobs (21.7%) by 2021, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Investment in the sector in 2011 was estimated at EUR 6 billion, 14.3% of total investment. This should rise by 3.2% a year to reach EUR 8.1 billion (or 14.6% of total investment) by 2021.

    • Hungary

      Tourism contributes an estimated 5.9% of GDP in 2010 and employed approximately 291.6 thousand people, or 7.7% of the workforce. Foreign currency receipts from travellers totalled EUR 4 051 million in 2010, a modest increase on previous years.

    • Iceland

      Tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Icelandic economy. The share of tourism in Iceland’s GDP was 5.9% in 2009 and is expected to rise above 6% in 2010 based on export figures. In the years between 2005 and 2010, the share of tourism in Iceland’s total export revenue was, on average, 17.3% but has fallen sharply from 22.4% in 2005 to 13.3% in 2010 and 13.9 in 2011. International travel expenditure (i.e. receipts from tourists excluding passenger fares) was ISK 70.255 million in 2010. Growth has been erratic since 2005, with arrivals increasing by 32.2% in the five years to 2010, and international tourism receipts by 49.9%.

    • Ireland

      Data from the Central Statistical Office (CSO) for 2011 show that 6.5 million overseas visitors came to the Republic of Ireland in 2011 – an increase of 6% on 2010. The vast majority of visitors to Ireland come from three geographical areas. In 2011, 44% of all visitors (2.87 million) came from Great Britain, 35% (2.28 million) from mainland Europe, and 15% (987 100) from North America.

    • Israel

      Tourism contributes slightly over 2% to national GDP and just over 3.5% of total employment, counting only direct tourism jobs. In 2010, the combined total of direct and indirect tourism jobs was some 206 000, or 7% of total employees.

    • Italy

      Tourism accounts for 3.5% of Italy’s GDP, a level that has remained almost constant since 2004. Over that period, however, employment in the industry has risen from 4.6% of total employment to 5.2%. There are approximately 1.3 million people employed in the hotel and restaurant sectors alone.

    • Japan

      Tourism is one of the major sectors in the Japanese economy. Travel consumption in 2009 was estimated to be about JPY 25.5 trillion. Japan received 8.6 million international arrivals in 2010, of which the five leading origin markets were Korea (2.44 million), China (1.4 million), Chinese Taipei (1.27 million), the United States (727 000) and Hong Kong (509 000). These five markets together accounted for 73.8% of all international visitors to the country.

    • Korea

      In 2010, Korea ranked 28th in the world for international visitor arrivals. The total number of foreign inbound tourists in 2010 was 8.8 million, an increase of 12.5% compared to the previous year. Of the total foreign inbound tourists in 2010, arrivals from Japan were the highest with 3.02 million (34.4% of total arrivals), followed by China with 1.87 million (21.3%), the United States with 0.65 million (7.4%), and Chinese Taipei with 0.4 million (4.6%).

    • Luxembourg

      A report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) for 2011 assesses the direct impact of the tourism industry at 2.1% of gross domestic product (EUR 0.846 billion), and its aggregate impact (direct and indirect) at 4.6%. According to the same source, tourism’s direct share of employment is 2.8% (6 000 jobs), and its aggregate share of employment is 6.3% (14 000 jobs).

    • Mexico

      Tourism in Mexico is seen as a key sector of the country’s economy and an important source of regional development, employment, foreign currency and economic activity. In 2009, output was calculated as USD 108.2 billion, of which domestic tourists accounted for 85.7%, and international visitors for 14.3%. According to the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), tourism accounted for 8% of GDP in 2009, higher than the combined totals of agriculture and the food industry, and employed 2.45 million people, 6.9% of total employment.

    • Netherlands

      Tourism is an important sector of the Dutch economy, accounting for 2.9% of GDP in 2010. The tourism industry provides 408 000 jobs, 4.4% of total employment.

    • New Zealand

      International tourism expenditure makes a major contribution to the New Zealand economy, accounting for 8.8% of GDP in 2010. In the year ended March 2011 it amounted to NZD 9.7 billion or 16.8% of total export earnings. International expenditure in New Zealand is forecast to increase by 2.7% a year to 2016, with international visitor arrivals rising by 2.8% a year. International arrivals grew by an average of 2.9% a year between September 2001 and September 2011. While the sector experienced strong growth in arrivals from 2000 to 2005, growth in arrivals over the past six years has been slower and in some years declined, due partly to the global financial crises and, more recently, as a consequence of the Christchurch earthquake.

    • Norway

      Tourism accounted for 3.3% of GDP and 6.3% of total employment in 2009, the latest year for which data are available. There was a marginal fall in the numbers employed in the industry in 2009.

    • Poland

      Tourism accounted for 5.3% of GDP in 2010, a fall from the recent peak year of 2007 when the sector accounted for 6%. In 2010, the total tourism economy was estimated at PLN 74.2 billion, down by 4.9% on 2009.

    • Portugal

      According to the latest data from the Portuguese Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), tourism consumption contributed 9.2% to GDP in 2010 (compared to 9.2% in 2008 and 8.8% in 2009).

    • Slovak Republic

      In 2010, international tourism receipts reached EUR 1 684.4 million, up 0.6% on the previous year, amounting to 2.5% of GDP (2.6% in 2009). According to preliminary figures from the National Bank of Slovakia, international tourism receipts reached EUR 812.5 million in the first half of 2011, 5.6% up on the previous year. Expenditure by Slovak citizens travelling abroad in 2010 totalled EUR 1 470.7 million, 2.2% below the 2009 figure.

    • Slovenia

      Tourism is considered as an important development and economic activity in the strategic development plans of Slovenia due to its cross-sectoral nature. With suitable government support, the sector is seen as having good growth potential. Tourism, given its employment-generating potential, could become one of the leading sectors of the economy and make a major contribution to the achievement of the development objectives defined in Slovenia's Development Strategy 2007-13 and in the future programme for 2014-20.

    • Spain

      Tourism is one of the mainstays of the Spanish economy and an outstanding driver of social development. It accounts for almost 10% of GDP and 11% of employment. Although a slight reduction on previous years, tourism continues to contribute substantially to offsetting the trade deficit. As the UNWTO estimates, with 52.7 million foreign visitors in 2010 (+1% as compared to 2009) and tourism receipts of close to EUR 39.621 billion (+4% as compared to 2009), Spain in 2010 consolidated its position as the fourth largest destination globally in terms of arrivals, and the second largest in terms of receipts.

    • Sweden

      The contribution of the tourism sector to the Swedish economy is relatively stable at around 3% of GDP.

    • Switzerland

      Tourism is a major component of the Swiss economy. In 2009, this sector employed some 145 000 people (FTE), amounting to 4.1% of total employment. The share of tourism in GDP amounted to 2.9% in 2009.

    • Turkey

      Tourism is one of the most dynamic and fastest developing sectors in Turkey. In 2010, tourism receipts accounted for 2.8% of GDP; adding in the indirect effects of tourism, it is estimated that tourism contributes 3.6% of GDP in total.

    • United Kingdom

      In the UK, tourism is one of the six biggest industries and the third-largest export earner. Tourism’s direct gross value added (GVA) for 2009 was just under GBP 68 billion, representing 3.6% of total UK GVA. Tourism is one of the UK’s biggest employers, with over 249 000 tourism businesses in the UK, representing 10% of total number of businesses, providing 1.74 million jobs. It creates wealth and employment in all parts of the country, creating jobs at every skill level in both full- and part-time employment.

    • United States

      Travel and tourism in the United States is a major contributor to GDP, accounting for 2.8% of value added in the US economy in 2010. Travel and tourism-related exports accounted for 25% of all US services exports and 7% of all goods and services exports in 2010.

    • Albania

      Albania’s coastline extends to 362 kilometres and the country has more than 2 000 sites and items considered cultural monuments. Three of these – Butrinti, Berat and Gjirokaster – are declared World Heritage Sites and are protected by UNESCO. Albania has a favourable climate and many natural attractions capable of sustaining a diversified tourism sector.

    • Argentina

      Tourism in Argentina has demonstrated excellent performance in recent years. In 2010, Argentina’s position in the global ranking of foreign tourist arrivals rose to 44th, from 47th in 2009 (UNWTO). Today, Argentina has the highest number of international tourist arrivals in South America, with 5.3 million in 2010, representing growth of 23% on the previous year.

    • Brazil

      In 2010, there were 5.161 million foreign tourists to Brazil, of which 2.742 million originated in Brazil’s five leading markets. The 2010 total was 7.5% above the total for 2009, but only 2.9% above the total registered in 2006.

    • Bulgaria

      Tourism has played an important role in Bulgaria’s recent economic transition, and in 2010 accounted for 10.3% of GDP, down from the reported 17.1% in 2006. The sector employs 4% of the workforce.

    • Croatia

      Croatia has seen a steady increase in the number of international arrivals, from 7.99 million in 2006 to 9.11 million in 2010, with an annual average increase of 3.3%. International tourism receipts (travel exports) in local currency terms have remained broadly stable at between HRK 45 and HRK 50 billion per year during this period.

    • Cyprus

      Note by Turkey: The information in this document with reference to Cyprus relates to the southern part of the Island. There is no single authority representing both Turkish and Greek Cypriot people on the Island. Turkey recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Until a lasting and equitable solution is found within the context of the United Nations, Turkey shall preserve its position concerning the Cyprus issue.

    • Egypt

      Tourism’s contribution to Egypt’s GDP stood at 5.3% in 2010, a slight decline on the 5.5% registered in 2009 according to the Tourism Satellite Accounts. The global financial crisis as well as recent political and social unrest have affected Egypt’s tourism sector adversely (). Tourism has been the fastest growing sector in Egypt's GDP, estimated to contribute 11.3% of GDP in 2009-10 when considering both the direct and indirect effects.

    • Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

      In 2010, it is estimated that tourism accounts for 1.8% of GDP, that inbound tourism generates 6% of the country’s services exports and that government revenues from the tourism sector are worth EUR 180 million annually.

    • India

      For the year 2002-03, the contribution (both direct and indirect) of tourism to GDP was 5.8%, and its contribution to total employment was 8.3%. As the tourism sector witnessed high growth from 2002 to 2010, and also more recently, these shares are expected to have increased.

    • Indonesia

      Tourism is seen as important in Indonesia given its contribution to the national economy. The latest data from 2010 suggest that the tourism sector contributes 4.1% to GDP, down from the recent peak of 5.3% in 2005, and employs 6.9% of the workforce.

    • Latvia

      In 2010 total expenditure of non-resident travellers in Latvia amounted to EUR 475.1 million (LVL 333.9 million), 3% less than in 2009. Tourism was also the fifth largest export item in the balance of payments in 2010, and is considered one of the country's main economic development opportunities, an important source of export revenue, and an important contributor to GDP. However, while tourism exports of EUR 484.2 million (LVL 340.3 million), accounted for 5.3% of total goods and services exports in 2010, this figure was down 6.3% from EUR 516.9 million (LVL 363.5 million) in 2009.

    • Lithuania

      Tourism is considered a rapidly growing industry of primary importance in Lithuania. In 2010, tourism accounted for 2.8% of Lithuania’s GDP. In 2010, tourism exports represented 25% of the value of total services exports and during three quarters of 2011 amounted to 26.4%. It is hoped that tourism will rise to 10% of the value of all goods and services exports by 2015.

    • Malta

      Tourism earnings account for approximately 26% of Malta’s services exports and for 15% of all goods and services exports. Approximately 12 500 people work in the industry, 8.5% of the employed workforce. Almost 4 500 businesses serve the tourism sector, of which 2 700 are in the catering industry and 1 500 are travel agencies or tour operators.

    • Montenegro

      Tourism is crucial to the economy of Montenegro. In the latest economic impact report from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Montenegro ranks in 1st place out of 188 countries in terms of growth in the travel and tourism industries. In 2009, it was estimated that tourism GDP accounted for 10% of Montenegro’s GDP. The WTTC report estimates that by 2021, travel and tourism will be directly responsible for 14.8%, and indirectly responsible for 36.3% of Montenegro’s GDP.

    • Romania

      The total number of inbound arrivals to Romania (registered at the border) in 2011 was 7.61 million. Of this figure, 1.51 million stayed in accommodation establishments, which represents an increase of 12.7% compared to 2010. The number of overnights for inbound arrivals accounted for 3.06 million in 2011, representing an increase of 11.2% compared to 2010. Domestic arrivals accounted for 5.5 million and the number of domestic overnights was 14.9 million in 2011, representing an increase of 16.9% and 12.4% respectively, compared to 2010.

    • Serbia

      The government of the Republic of Serbia has identified tourism as a priority sector for socioeconomic growth and development. In 2010, there were 2 million tourists in Serbia (20 600 fewer than in 2009), two-thirds of whom were domestic tourists (66%). There were 683 000 foreign tourist arrivals in 2010, 5.7% more than in the previous year. The main origin markets were Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany and Italy, which together accounted for over a third (37.1%) of all international arrivals.

    • South Africa

      According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), tourism’s direct and indirect contribution to the GDP was ZAR 258 billion, estimated at about 9% of the total GDP. The tourism sector in South Africa is estimated to have directly contributed 3.0% of GDP in 2010. While no more recent national estimates are available, data from the WTTC estimate that this fell slightly to 2.7% in 2011. WTTC also estimates that, taking into account both the direct and indirect effects of tourism, the tourism sector’s total contribution to GDP in 2010 was 9%.

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