MUSCAT, APRIL 23
The travel and tourism sector’s contribution to Oman’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is forecast to soar to reach a value of $8.67 billion over the next 10 years, representing 8.9 per cent of GDP in 2028, according to a new report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), billed as the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism.
This compares with a contribution of $4.6 billion (6.6 per cent of GDP) in 2017, the UK-based international body said in its latest assessment of the Sultanate’s burgeoning travel and hospitality industry. The report envisions a further 6.3 per cent increase in the sector’s contribution in 2018, with an average 5.9 per cent growth anticipated annually over the 2019 – 2028 timeframe.
Oman is one of 185 destinations that are studied by the London-headquartered Council as part of its effort to promote sustainable growth in the travel and tourism industry worldwide. Council members include the chairs, presidents and chief executives of the world’s leading private sector Travel & Tourism businesses. In partnership with Oxford Economics, WTTC produces annual research that shows Travel & Tourism to be one of the world’s largest sectors, supporting over 307 million jobs and generating 10.4 per cent of global GDP in 2017.
While the afore-mentioned figures reflect the sector’s ‘total contribution’ to the GDP, the ‘direct contribution’ in comparison was estimated at $2.2 billion (3.2 per cent GDP) in 2017. This is forecast to grow by 6 per cent in 2018, and to rise by 5.9 per cent per annum during 2019-2028 to reach a value of $4.17 billion of GDP in 2028.
The direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP, according to WTTC,
reflects the internal spend on travel and tourism (by residents and non-residents for business and leisure purposes) as well as government spending on travel and tourism directly linked to visitors.
The total contribution, on the other hand, includes the indirect and induced impacts of travel and tourism on the wider economy. This includes travel and tourism investment spending covering both current and future activity such as the purchase of new aircraft and construction of new hotels. It also includes spend towards, for example, tourism marketing and promotion, aviation, administration, travel and tourism security services, and so on. Domestic procurements of goods and services by sectors dealing directly with tourists — including, for example, purchases of food and cleaning services by hotels, of fuel and catering services by airlines, and IT services by travel agents, are broadly included as well.
Significantly, the Sultanate’s Travel & Tourism sector directly supported 72,500 jobs (3.4 per cent of total employment) in 2017, the report said. This is projected to rise by 1.5 per cent in 2018 and grow further apace at the rate of 2.6 per cent annually to 95,000 jobs (4.0 per cent of total employment) in 2028.
In comparison, the sector’s total contribution to employment (including jobs indirectly supported by the industry) was estimated at 140,000 jobs (6.6 per cent of total employment) in 2017, according to WTTC. This figure is projected to climb by 3.3 per cent in 2018 to 144,500 jobs, rising further by 3.2 per cent per annum to 199,000 jobs in 2028 (8.2 per cent of the total).
Visitor exports (reflecting the spend within Oman by international tourists for both business and leisure trips) generated $2.68 billion in revenue for the Sultanate in 2017, representing 7.1 per cent of total exports last year, the report said. This tally is forecast to grow by 6.5 per cent in 2018, rising further apace at the rate of 6.9 per cent annually over the next 10 years to reach a value of $5.55 billion in 2028, representing 10.3 per cent of total exports.
Travel & Tourism related investments in 2017 amounted to around $710 million, representing 2.8 per cent of total investment during the year. This is projected to climb by 4.3 per cent in 2018, rising further at the rate of 3.0 per cent annually over the next ten years to reach around $1 billion in 2028, representing 3.0 per cent of total investment.