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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07 Mar 2014
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This 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. The 2014 edition focuses on tourism and growth, and covers 48 countries.

Tourism Trends and Policies is an international reference and benchmark on how effectively countries are supporting competitiveness, innovation and growth in tourism, and sheds light on policies and practices associated with this. It is published every two years.

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  • Preface

    Tourism has demonstrated remarkable resilience. The challenges posed by the global crisis, political turmoil, natural disasters and rising oil prices have not prevented tourism from becoming one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in the world economy. G20 countries also recognise it as a vehicle for job creation, economic growth and development.

  • Foreword

    This fourth edition of OECD Tourism Trends and Policies, undertaken in partnership with the European Commission, builds on the work of the Organisation’s Tourism Committee, highlighting key reforms in tourism organisation and governance and providing a comprehensive analysis of tourism trends and policy developments in 48 OECD and partner countries. It focuses on issues high on the national and international policy agenda, including travel facilitation and visa issues, and the evolving relationship between taxation and tourism.

  • Executive summary

    In OECD countries, tourism is big business, directly accounting for 4.7% of GDP, 6% of employment and 21% of exports of services.

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    • Tourism trends and policy priorities

      This chapter covers recent trends in tourism and associated developments in government policy. It is based on OECD member and partner countries’ responses to a policy and statistical survey. Recent trends in tourism are identified. The chapter outlines the economic importance of tourism and sets out the role of government in its promotion and development. The linkage between tourism performance and overall economic growth and the impact of the global economic crisis are considered. Tourism policy priorities, reforms and developments are analysed and country practices are highlighted.

    • Travel facilitation, tourism and growth

      This chapter considers the impact on travel and tourism of visa and entry policies which control the movement of people across national borders. It is based on recent work by the OECD Tourism Committee and draws on case study material from OECD and partner countries. The chapter considers the potential for smarter approaches to support tourism and economic growth, while simultaneously maintaining the integrity and security of national borders. The issues and challenges policy makers face in developing and implementing policy in this area are outlined. The different approaches governments have adopted, and their impacts, are also highlighted. A number of policy considerations are then discussed, to inform policy making and contribute to the current debate on travel facilitation.

    • Taxation and tourism

      There is currently an intense debate about the role of tourism taxation and its impact on the competitiveness and attractiveness of destinations; and a strong demand for more information. This chapter explores the evolving relationship between taxation and tourism. It aims to contribute to the current policy debate by enabling the reader to better understand the rationale and concerns from both a government and industry perspective, and by providing comparative information in the form of an inventory of tourism-related taxes. The inventory, based on a survey of OECD and partner countries, focuses on indirect tourism-related taxes, fees, and charges that fall under the broad category headings of: i) arrival and departure; ii) air travel; iii) hotel and accommodation; iv) reduced rates of consumption tax; v) environment; and vi) incentives. The chapter also highlights recent trends and interesting practices in the area of tourism taxation.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Country profiles: Tourism trends and policies

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    • Reader's guide

      The statistical data contained in this report has been collected and processed using the OECD Statistical Information System. This system streamlines and strengthens the production, storage and dissemination of statistics. A single, consolidated source of tourism statistics is integrated into the OECD corporate statistics structure and will be easily accessible online as part of the OECD’s programme to make data open, accessible and free by mid-2015. A standardised database structure has been used to enhance data comparability and ensure close alignment with the main methodological references and international standards on tourism statistics.

    • Australia

      In 2012/13 (fiscal year Australia’s fiscal year starts on 1 July and ends on 30 June.), tourism generated AUD 38.8 billion in gross value added (GVA), an increase of 3.8% on the previous 12-month period. Direct tourism GDP increased by 3.7% to AUD 42.3 billion, with growth stronger compared with Australian GDP growth of 2.4%. Tourism’s share of GDP rose slightly by 0.1 percentage points to 2.8%. The industry directly employed 543 600 people in 2012/13, or some 4.7% of total employment in Australia.

    • Austria

      In 2012, the number of international tourist arrivals in hotels and similar establishments in Austria (including commercial holiday dwellings) was 18.9 million (+4.8% over 2011). The fastest-growing source markets, compared with 2011, were the Russian Federation, with some 476 400 arrivals (up 19.0% over the previous year) and 1.8 million overnights (+18.9%); China, with 354 700 arrivals (+36.4%) and 506 600 nights (+37.0%); and Saudi Arabia, with 64 300 arrivals (+67%) and 218 300 nights (+69.2%).

    • Belgium

      In Belgium, tourism is an exclusive competency of the three regions: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. This section provides a national overview of tourism in the country, as does the statistical annex, followed by presentations of the governance and policy initiatives of the Flanders and Walloon regions.

    • Canada

      Canada welcomed 25.3 million international travellers in 2012, up 1.0% year on year. Of these, 16.3 million were overnight travellers (tourists), an increase of 2.0% over 2011. Tourism activities generated 609 500 jobs in 2012 (up 1.5% over 2011). Tourism industries accounted for 1.7 million jobs in Canada (about 9% of all jobs). Tourism contributed CAD 32.0 billion to Canada’s GDP (a 3.8% increase over 2011), representing approximately 2% of Canada’s total GDP.

    • Chile

      Tourism is Chile’s fourth-largest export industry after mining, fruit, and pulp and paper. International tourism receipts reached USD 2.6 billion in 2012, representing 20% of total service exports. They have grown strongly in recent years: by an average of 6.1% a year between 2004 and 2010, by 14% in 2011 and by 17% in 2012.

    • Czech Republic

      Tourism’s share of GDP in the Czech Republic has been declining over the last five years – from 2.9% in 2007 to 2.7 % in 2011 – due to the relatively rapid development of other important sectors of the national economy. The number of people employed in tourism totalled 231 300 in 2011. The sector’s share of total employment has remained relatively stable at around 4.5 % over the past five years.

    • Denmark

      The contribution of the tourism sector to Denmark’s gross value added is given as 2.6% when both direct and indirect effects are taken into account, and 1.5% 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 18 billion in 2012.

    • Estonia

      In 2012, 2.7 million foreign tourists stayed overnight in Estonia, an increase of 3.0% compared with 2011. Overnight volume was 3.8 million (2% up on 2011). The number of foreign nights on both holiday trips and business trips increased by 3%, while nights on other trips declined by 6%. In absolute figures, the biggest increase occurred in holiday tourism, which accounts for two thirds of foreign nights.

    • Finland

      Finnish tourism had an excellent year in 2012. A record 20.3 million nights were achieved, of which 14.5 million from domestic tourists. As in the previous year, the engine behind the growth was increased foreign demand, especially from the Russian Federation. Nights spent by foreign tourists increased by 5.4%, while the number of nights spent by domestic tourists increased only slightly, by 0.2%. Finland received 7.6 million foreign visitors in 2012 – an increase of 5% on 2011. The largest markets for overnights were the neighbouring countries of the Russian Federation and Sweden, followed by Germany and the United Kingdom.

    • France

      Tourism plays a major role in the national economy. In 2011, the accommodation and cateringsector produced an output of EUR 88.5 billion (2.4% of total output) and an added value of EUR 44.1 billion (2.5% of GDP). Internal tourism consumption accounts for more than 7% of GDP (Tourism Satellite Account). Tourism accounts for one of the biggest balance of payments surpluses. The surplus for 2012 was EUR 11.3 billion.

    • Germany

      Tourism is one of Germany’s most prosperous and lucrative economic sectors, generating close to EUR 100 billion in gross value added (4.4% of GDP). Visitor spending in Germany amounts to roughly EUR 280 billion. Some 2.9 million workers are directly employed in the industry.

    • Greece

      The tourism industry is one of the most important sectors in the Greek economy. The total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP, including its wider economic impact as defined in the Tourism Satellite Accounts, represented 15.8% of GDP in 2011. The total contribution of the tourism sector to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry, was 18.4% of total employment, and investment in the sector was estimated at 14.3% of total investment.

    • Hungary

      In 2012, the number of international tourist arrivals in Hungary totalled 14.9 million (+9.2% compared with 2011), while visitor spending reached EUR 2 796 million (‑7.9% over 2011).

    • Iceland

      Tourism has been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Icelandic economy and enjoyed further growth in 2010-12. The share of tourism in Iceland’s GDP was 5.9% in 2009. Tourism ranks second in total export revenues with a share of 23.4%, up from 14.4% in 2008, and may soon surpass the fisheries industry to become the leading source of export revenues. International tourism receipts were ISK 105.7 billion in 2012, up from ISK 68.4 billion in 2010. Since 2010, arrivals have increased by 38.7%, and international tourism receipts by 40.0%. Tourism accounted for around 5.1% of total employment in Iceland in 2010.

    • Ireland

      Tourism is an important driver of economic activity for Ireland. As well as being the longest-standing source of service export earnings, it also directly and indirectly supports employment across the country for a range of skill levels – often in areas where the scope to develop other export-focused sectors is constrained. The tourism and hospitality industry employed approximately 185 000 people in 2012, and generated over EUR 5 billion in revenues from home and abroad – equivalent to over 3% of GDP. Tourism also shapes Ireland’s image and attractiveness as a place to live, work and invest.

    • Israel

      Among the principal challenges to the Israeli tourism sector are the continuing fragility of EU economies, the political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, and the need to adapt the scope of tourism infrastructure to the growing number of tourists and their expectations.

    • Italy

      The Tourism Satellite Account for Italy indicates that in 2010, the value added in tourism accounted for EUR 82.8 million, 6% of the total value added in the whole economy. The contribution of tourism to employment – including direct, indirect and induced effects – was 13.8% of the total in 2011.

    • Japan

      Tourism is one of the largest sectors in the Japanese economy. Internal tourism consumption in Japan in 2011 was estimated to be JPY 21.5 trillion (including about JPY 1 trillion from international visitors). The total travel consumption of the Japanese (which has declined in recent years) was estimated at JPY 24.6 trillion, of which approximately JPY 3.2 trillion was spent overseas.

    • Korea

      In 2012, Korean tourism achieved strong growth, registering a record 11.1 million international arrivals, a 13.7% increase over 2011, while outbound travel grew by 8.2% to 13.7 million departures. The five leading origin markets in terms of the number of visitors to Korea were Japan (3.5 million), China (2.8 million), the United States, Chinese Taipei, and Thailand.

    • Luxembourg

      In 2012, Luxembourg welcomed 905 000 tourists, 24% of whom were from France, 20% from Belgium, 18% from the Netherlands and 14% from Germany. Those visits generated EUR 3.6 billion in income from international tourism. The direct impact of tourism in Luxembourg’s GDP was estimated at 2.1% in 2011 (WTTC).

    • Mexico

      Tourism is a national priority in Mexico as it generates direct and indirect jobs, as well as foreign currency receipts and economic growth. Tourism also promotes regional development and productive chains, in addition to improving quality of life for families and communities. It contributes 8.4% of Mexico’s GDP, is the fourth largest source of export revenues, and creates around 2.5 million direct and 5 million indirect jobs.

    • Netherlands

      Tourism is an important sector of the Dutch economy, accounting for 2.9% of GDP in 2012. The tourism industry (as defined in the Tourism Satellite Account) provides 413 000 jobs, 4.5% of total employment.

    • New Zealand

      Tourism plays a significant role in the New Zealand economy, directly contributing NZD 7.3 billion, or 3.7% of GDP, and indirectly contributing an additional NZD 9.8 billion, or 5.0%. Tourism is also a major export earner, second only to dairy. In the year ended March 2013, international tourism expenditure increased 2.2%, to NZD 9.8 billion, and contributed 15.2% to New Zealand’s total exports of goods and services. Domestic tourism expenditure increased 2.4%, to NZD 14.2 billion. Tourism directly employs 5.7% of the workforce and generates NZD 1.3 billion in goods and services tax (GST) revenue.

    • Norway

      Domestic tourism is extremely important for Norway, although it has been declining in both trip volume and spending since its peak in 2010. In 2012, domestic trips fell by 6.5% to 13.3 million. Of these, holidays which accounted for a 72% share, fell by 9.5%, while business trips recorded a 3.7% increase, growing their share to 28%. Nevertheless, the number of nights spent on domestic trips fell by 23%, contributing to an overall decline of 13% in overnight volume, to 43.5 million. Nights spent on holiday travel in Norway also declined, by 10% to 35.4 million, and total spending on domestic tourism dropped by 28% to NOK 40.77 billion.

    • Poland

      Tourism contributed 6% to Poland’s GDP in 2012. The total tourism economy was estimated at PLN 96.4 billion, an increase of 32.6% on 2011.

    • Portugal

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

    • Slovak Republic

      In 2012, the Slovak Republic’s international tourism receipts reached EUR 1 789 million, up 2.5% on the previous year and contributing 2.5% of GDP (the same share as in 2011). Expenditure by Slovak citizens travelling abroad in 2012 totalled EUR 1 681 million, 6.4% more than in 2011. The balance of payments in international tourism therefore remained positive in 2012, but declined by 31% to EUR 123 million.

    • Slovenia

      Slovene tourism was seriously affected by the global financial and economic crisis in 2009-10, but there were signs of recovery from the end of 2011, and 2012 turned out to be an excellent year. However, most of the tourism indicators weakened slightly in the first part of 2013.

    • Spain

      Tourism is one of the mainstays of the Spanish economy and an outstanding driver of social development. It accounts for almost 11% of Spain’s GDP and 11.8% of employment. Thanks to modest growth year on year, tourism continues to contribute substantially to offsetting the country’s trade deficit. With 57.7 million foreign visitors (+2.7% over 2011) and EUR 43.3 billion in international tourism receipts (+1.2%), Spain consolidated its position in 2012 as the fourth largest destination worldwide in terms of arrivals, and the second largest in terms of receipts.

    • Sweden

      Sweden’s tourism has been growing steadily over the past ten years and is today an important sector for the growth of enterprise and jobs, as well as the expansion of local economies in the country. The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) reported an increase of 7.5% in tourism’s export value in 2012, measured as foreign visitors’ consumption in Sweden, to SEK 106.5 billion – almost 85% more than iron and steel exports and almost three times more than the value of Swedish car exports. This represented a growth of 162 % over the last 13 years.

    • Switzerland

      Tourism is an important pillar of the Swiss economy. In 2012, around 146 000 people worked in the tourism industry (full-time equivalents), corresponding to 4.0% of the overall economy, and tourism contributed 2.7% of Swiss GDP.

    • Turkey

      Tourism is one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing sectors in Turkey’s economy. In 2012, tourism receipts accounted for some 2.8% of GDP. The total contribution (direct, indirect and induced) is estimated to have been 3.7% in 2012.

    • United Kingdom

      Tourism is a major part of the United Kingdom economy. In 2011, tourism directly contributed a gross value added (GVA) of over GBP 50 billion to the UK economy (4%). Further economic analysis by Deloitte suggests that if indirect economic effects are also included, GVA could be as high as GBP 115 billion (9%). Tourism also makes a substantial contribution to employment in the UK, with 2.7 million employees working in tourism-associated industries in 2011, or 9% of all employee jobs, with a further 0.5 million self‑employed. An estimated 1.7 million of this employment is directly related to tourism.

    • United States

      Travel and tourism in the United States is a major contributor to the US economy, accounting for 2.8% of GDP. Travel- and tourism-related exports accounted for 25.5% of all US services exports and 7% of all goods and services exports in 2012.

    • Argentina

      The national government regards tourism as one of the key sectors in its new model for the country, following basic principles of sustainability and competitiveness.

    • Bulgaria

      The tourism industry is an important source of economic growth for Bulgaria. In 2012, tourism directly contributed 3.8 % of GDP and generated 5.3% (2011) of employment, or 137 000 jobs. The total impact of tourism (direct and total, including indirect and induced) is estimated respectively at 13.6% and 12.5% (WTTC).

    • China

      Tourism has a vital role in the national economy. In 2009, the State Council issued Document 2009-41, which highlights the government’s aim to nurture the tourism industry as one of the strategic pillars of the national economy. In 2012, the tourism industry directly accounted for nearly 4% of GDP, and China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) expects this to reach 4.5% in 2015. The share of international tourism receipts in exports of services was 26%.

    • Croatia

      In 2012, the share of tourism in GDP was 15.4% and tourism accounted for 73.6% of all export services revenues and employed approximately 4.8% of the total workforce. Croatia has seen a steady increase in the number of international arrivals, from 8 million in 2006 to 10.4 million in 2012. International tourism receipts have remained broadly stable at between HRK 45 and HRK 51 billion per year during this period.

    • Egypt

      Tourism’s direct contribution to Egypt’s GDP reached 6.1% in 2011 and, if both the direct and indirect effects are taken into account, it is estimated to have contributed some 11.3% of GDP.

    • Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)

      In 2012, it is estimated that tourism directly accounted for 1.2 % of GDP of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), that inbound tourism generated 22.3% of the country’s services exports, and that government revenues from the tourism sector are worth EUR 182 million annually.

    • India

      As per India’s second Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), the contribution of tourism to GDP and employment generation, in fiscal 2009/10, India’s financial year starts on 1 April and ends on 31 March. was estimated at 6.8% and 10.2%, respectively. In line with continued recent growth in the sector, these shares are expected to have increased.

    • Indonesia

      International tourism to Indonesia has been growing significantly and continuously. In 2012, the number of foreign tourist arrivals increased by 5.2% to 8.0 million. Short- and medium-haul travellers from countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, China and Japan dominated. Unfortunately, the recent increases in arrivals were accompanied by a decline in the average length of stay, from 8.05 days in 2010 to 7.84 days in 2011 and 7.70 in 2012. Nevertheless, the contribution of international tourists to Indonesia’s foreign exchange earnings progressively increased from USD 7.6 billion in 2010 (+20%) to USD 8.6 billion in 2011 (+12.5%) and USD 9.1 billion in 2012 (+6.6%).

    • Latvia

      In 2012, international tourists in Latvia spent a total of LVL 383.6 million (EUR 545.8 million), an increase of 1.1% on 2011. Tourism is considered one of the country’s prime economic development opportunities, an important source of export revenue, and a key contributor to GDP. Moreover, tourism exports of LVL 408 million (EUR 580.5 million), accounted for 4.4% of total goods and services exports in 2012, up by 4.9% over 2011’s LVL 389 million (EUR 553.5 million).

    • Lithuania

      In 2012, foreign tourist arrivals grew by 7% to 1.9 million. A further 3.1 million same‑day arrivals were recorded, up 12.8% over 2011. Receipts from international tourism in 2012 totalled LTL 3546.2 million compared with LTL 3256.3 million in the previous year, with an additional LTL 305.5 million (LTL 156.8 million in 2011) in international transport receipts.

    • Malta

      Tourism earnings account for approximately 26% of Malta’s services exports. About 14 000 people work in the industry or related sectors, 16.3% of the employed workforce in Malta. Tourism directly supports some 3 450 jobs in businesses across the sector, including accommodation services, travel agencies and tour operators. Of these, 2 325 are in the catering industry and 903 involve travel agencies or tour operators. Other tourism service providers include both privately run and publicly owned attractions, car hire firms, coach operators and other transport providers, boat, ferry and harbour cruise operators.

    • Romania

      The total number of inbound visitor arrivals in Romania in 2012 was 7.9 million. Of these, 1.7 million involved stays in commercial accommodation, a growth of 9.1% over 2011. The number of overnights generated by inbound tourist arrivals totalled 3.3 million, up 7.5% year on year. Domestic tourism overnights reached 15.8 million, an increase of 6.4% compared with 2011.

    • Russian Federation

      The direct contribution of tourism to GDP in the Russian Federation in 2012 was 2.3%, while the total contribution to GDP was estimated to be 6.3%.

    • South Africa

      Tourism’s direct contribution to South Africa’s GDP grew from ZAR 80.2 billion in 2010 to an estimated ZAR 84.3 billion in 2011 (approximately 5%). However, the percentage contribution of tourism to GDP remained relatively stable (3% and 2.9% respectively) over the period. Tourism directly supported 598 432 jobs in 2011, or some 4.5% of total employment – up from 567 378 in 2010.

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