Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Tourism, Commerce and the WTO

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the International Trade Center (ITC) have issued the joint communication “Tourism, Trade and WTO” which reaffirms the importance of reinforced global Cooperation in trade and tourism and promoting greater participation of the tourism sector in trade policy.

As the third largest sector of international trade with a share of 10.4% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and 313 million jobs worldwide, the tourism sector makes an important contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This joint communication, published at the 2018 WTO Public Forum, aims to highlight the importance of tourism while highlighting the crucial role of the WTO in ensuring the smooth and predictable functioning of trade, including for the tourism sector.

According to WTTC, between 7 and 19 million new jobs could be created in the G20 countries alone by investing in biometrics and new airport infrastructure to make existing terminal facilities and processes more efficient, safer and more seamless for passengers. In addition, travel and tourism-related GDP grew 4.6% in 2017, one and a half times faster than the global economy, and projections suggest the sector will continue to outperform global economic growth.

Under the main topic “Trade 2030”, the sub-topics of the public WTO forum for 2018 are sustainable trade, technology-based trade and a more inclusive trading system. Projections for 2030 suggest that the tourism sector expects continued rapid growth. According to the UNWTO’s long-term forecast report for tourism by 2030, an increase in international tourist arrivals worldwide by 3.3% per year to 1.8 billion by 2030 is expected.The market share of the emerging countries, which already rose from 30% in 1980 to 45% in 2016 is expected to reach 57% by 2030, representing over 1 billion international tourist arrivals.

It must be further emphasized that the international trading system has a huge impact on international tourism, not only in terms of the cross-border transport of tourists, but also in terms of the procurement of a wide variety of goods and services – from safari jeeps to restaurant chefs to Hotel accounting software – essential for supplying international tourism

In order to shed further light on developments in the tourism sector, a special meeting took place on October 3, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the 2018 WTO public forum. “Innovation and digital transformation for sustainable and inclusive tourism”, organized by WTTC, UNWTO, ITC and WTO, consisted of a high-level speaker group that addressed the question of how disruptions can be prevented and the continued functioning of the global tourism industry can be ensured. These included Franck Mwe di Malila, Ministry of Tourism of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Gloria Guevara Manzo, President and Chief Executive Officer, WTTC; Jaime Alberto Cabal Sanclemente, Deputy Secretary General of the UNWTO; Arancha González, Managing Director, ITC; and Torbjörn Fredriksson, Head of ICT Policy at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The session was moderated by Dale Honeck, Senior Counselor of the WTO Department of Trade in Services and Investments.


UNWTO communications department

Tel .: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218 /

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