According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism, in 2015 Travel & Tourism in Georgia directly supported 100,500 jobs (5.8% of total employment). This is expected to rise by 4.2% in 2016 and rise by 1.8% pa to 125,000 jobs (7.2% of total employment) in 2026. Rochelle Turner is the head of research at “WTTC Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2016 Georgia”.
The total contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was GEL7,310.2 mn (23.5% of GDP) in 2015, and is forecast to rise by 5.3% in 2016, and to rise by 6.1% pa to GEL13,874.7mn (27.7% of GDP) in 2026.
Travel & Tourism investment in 2015 was GEL231.7mn, or 3.4% of total investment. It should rise by 6.3% in 2016, and rise by 5.8% pa over the next ten years to GEL433.3mn in 2026 (3.9% of total).
According to the report, in 2015, the total contribution of Travel & Tourism to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry, was 20.1% of total employment (347,000 jobs). This is expected to rise by 3.5% in 2016 to 359,000 jobs and rise by 1.7% pa to 423,000 jobs in 2026 (24.4% of total).
Visitor exports generated GEL4,701.0 mn (36.4% of total exports) in 2015. This is forecast to grow by 5.9% in 2016, and grow by 6.4% pa, from 2016-2026, to GEL9,216.7 mn in 2026 (40.3% of total).
Leisure travel spending (inbound and domestic) generated 62.1% of direct Travel & Tourism GDP in 2015 (GEL3,674.1 mn) compared with 37.9% for business travel spending (GEL2,238.6 mn).
Leisure travel spending is expected to grow by 6.6% in 2016 to GEL3,915.9 mn, and rise by 6.0% pa to GEL7,009.1mn in 2026.
Business travel spending is expected to grow by 4.5% in 2016 to GEL2,339.6 mn, and rise by 6.1% pa to GEL4,219.6mn in 2026.
Domestic travel spending generated 20.5% of direct Travel & Tourism GDP in 2015 compared with 79.5% for visitor exports (i.e. foreign visitor spending or international tourism receipts).
Domestic travel spending is expected to grow by 5.3% in 2016 to GEL1,276.1 mn, and rise by 4.7% pa to GEL2,012.1mn in 2026.
Visitor exports are expected to grow by 5.9% in 2016 to GEL4,979.3 mn, and rise by 6.4% pa to GEL9,216.7mn in 2026.
“The outlook for Travel & Tourism in 2016 remains robust, despite economic fragilities and other sources of volatility in the wider market. The sector’s GDP growth contribution is expected to accelerate and again outpace growth of the wider economy. Stronger growth in 2016 is likely to be underpinned by an improving global economy. The lowest oil prices in more than a decade will continue to boost demand through lower transport costs, whilst household finances and disposable income will benefit from reduced energy costs,” said David Scowsill, President & CEO at WTTC.
“There are other factors which are influencing the flow of travellers around the world. Notably, the strength of the US dollar relative to other currencies is shifting the price competitiveness of destinations and will affect who travels where this year. Undoubtedly new developments will emerge alongside these existing factors. Travel & Tourism is a key force for good, and it has proven in the past that it is strong and adaptable enough to face any challenges. It will continue to grow, to create jobs, and to bring economic and social benefits,” said Scowsill.
According to Scowsill, the Travel & Tourism sector is expected to grow faster than the wider economy and many other industries over the next decade. It is anticipated to support over 370 million jobs by 2026. “Such strong growth will require tourism destinations across the world to provide environments that are conducive to business development. It will require effective coordination between public institutions and the private sector around the world”.
In the first five months of 2016, a record number of tourists have visited Georgia. Between January and May Georgia hosted 2,119,275 international visitors (tourists, transit, other), which was a 15 percent increase year-on-year.
This was slightly less than the amount of tourists who visited Georgia in the whole of 2015.
Of the 2,119,275 international visitors so far this year, 782,814 were tourists. This was an increase of 19 percent y/y. Meanwhile in May 2016 alone, Georgia hosted 522,359 international visitors, which was 15 percent more y/y. The number of tourists who spent more than 24 hours in Georgia last month was 204,714 or 24 percent more y/y.
Last month the most international visitors came from: Ukraine – 31% increase; Russia – 19% increase; Azerbaijan – 18% increase; Turkey – 7% increase and Armenia – 4% increase.
A positive trend was retained regarding visitors from European Union (EU) countries. In May 2016 growing numbers of EU visitors came from: Latvia – 64% increase; Poland – 30% increase; Germany – 29% increase and Lithuania – 21% increase.
Significant growth in terms of visitor numbers was observed from: India – 319% increase; Iran – 300% increase; Oman – 149% increase; Israel – 122% increase and Saudi Arabia – 85% increase.
Meanwhile last year 2,278,562 tourists visited Georgia, which was 2.2 percent more than in 2014.