[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]ccording to the World Travel and Tourism Council, in ten years’ time travel and tourism will contribute US$11.3 trillion in GDP to the world economy and will sustain 355 million jobs – the equivalent to one in ten on the planet.

This year, the travel and tourism industry is forecast to grow a significant 3.5 per cent, although this is slightly lower than anticipated at the beginning of 2015, due in the most part to “weaker domestic spending”.

Factors that have caused a slow-down regionally include MERS in South Korea and Ebola in West Africa; typhoons in the Philippines and the earthquake in Nepal; terrorist attacks in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, France and Mali; and political turmoil and on-going unrest Syria and Ukraine.

David Scowsill, president and CEO of the WTTC, says: “Travel and tourism is a tremendously resilient sector. Despite a number of terrible regional incidents throughout the year, the sector will still grow 1 per cent faster than global GDP in 2015.”

The organisation says that tourism will contribute US$7.8 trillion to the world economy by the end of 2015, and will support 284 million jobs, which “underlines its enormous significance to the economy of the world”.

At the same time, money spent my travellers is estimated to grow by 2.9 per cent by the beginning of 2016.

The fastest-growing tourist destination, with 7.7 per cent growth, will be South Asia, which is “heavily stimulated by the growth in India”, says the WTTC.

On the other hand, Latin America will see the least change with a rise of just 1.7 per cent, mainly because of “a slowdown of the Brazilian economy, which is estimated to decline by 2.1 per cent this year”.