Tourism: Growth in tourism industry picks up


19/07/2012 - International tourism arrivals have returned rapidly to steady growth, showing tourism’s resilience to the effects of the global economic and financial crisis, according to a new OECD report.

“Tourism”,  says that OECD countries were the destination of choice for 66% of global arrivals in 2010 and, EU countries accounted for 50.2%. In 2010, total international arrivals in all countries reached 940 million, 6.7% above the 2009 figure, with most growth taking place in Asia and the Pacific. Overall, international arrivals increased by 4% to OECD countries and 2.7% to the EU zone. 

The report notes that tourism represents a significant share of the services economy of OECD and EU members, accounting for up to a third of service exports and up to 10% of GDP.

The report reviews tourism in 51 countries, including all OECD countries and EU Member States. It suggests key policy reforms and effective governance practices to boost competitiveness and sustainability. Governments should adopt an integrated whole-of-government approach to the development of tourism, better define the roles and responsibilities of tourism organisations, and encourage better industry co-ordination, according to the report. Furthermore, it highlights the need for effective evaluation of policies supporting the industry, to demonstrate the value of tourism, particularly in times of resource constraint, when a strong and clear evidence base is needed by policy makers.

Yves Leterme, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, said:  “Tourism is directly responsible for over 5% of employment in OECD member countries. But in many countries, tourism jobs remain vacant due to a lack of appropriately skilled workers. There is a need for governments to assume a greater leadership role in shaping the training and education agenda. A national tourism strategy, including a workforce development strategy, is necessary to fully address labour and skills shortages.”

European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship welcomed the OECD report and its recommendations. He said: “The OECD's figures confirm that if Europe wants to remain the world's number one tourist destination we need to modernise and invest more in quality, new technology and skills. The tourism industry needs to cater to an aging clientele, changing lifestyles and consumer demands, explore new ways to attract more international visitors and convince more Europeans to spend their holidays in the EU. With this in mind we launched the "50,000 tourists" pilot initiative to promote travel between South America and the European Union, and a communication campaign to promote the image of Europe in selected emerging long-haul markets."

To obtain a copy of “OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2012”, journalists should e-mail

For further information about “OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2012”, journalists should contact
Peter Haxton on: Tel: +33 (0)1 45 24 85 99 / e-mail : or Alain Dupeyras, Head of the CFE Tourism Unit, on: Tel: +33 (0)1 45 24 91 45 /

For further information on the OECD work about tourism see :


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