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A Look at Global Travel Trends

During a prolonged and grinding recession, the travel industry was one of the few sectors to bounce back early and help buoy the global economy. Last year, the industry accounted for 9.5 percent of the global economy (nearly $7 trillion) and employed 266 million people — about 9 percent of the global work force.


Below are excerpts from a conversation with David Scowsill of Britain, president and chief executive of the World Travel and Tourism Council, on how countries can maximize the economic impact of travel and tourism.

下面是与世界旅游理事会(World Travel and Tourism Council)的总裁兼首席执行官,英国的大卫·斯考希尔(David Scowsill)的谈话节选,关于各国如何将旅游业的经济收益最大化。

Q. How has the global tourism market changed over the last five years?


A. Whether in a recession or a growth period, the travel and tourism industry is extremely robust. It grows between 1 and 1 1/2 percentage points faster than the world economy.


Going into the recession, post Lehman Brothers, pieces of the industry suffered quite badly, particularly the hotel industry, because the demand for investment dried up, and during that time supply and demand were also out of kilter with the airlines. But we’ve cruised through successfully with four straight years of growth, and at this point we’re predicting global growth for the industry to be around 4.3 percent for 2014.


Which countries were behind the growth these last four years?

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Much of it is coming out of Asia. Over time, the balance has gently started to move away from the U.S. and Europe. We’re forecasting that China will overtake the U.S. in 2027 as the world’s largest travel and tourism economy.


Why is that?


Ernst & Young estimates that by 2030, nearly one billion people in China could enter into the middle class and have a disposable income that allows them to travel domestically and abroad. Ten years ago their government singled out tourism as a key pillar of economic growth, and as a result, they have invested well ahead of the curve in high-speed trains, hotel complexes and airports to absorb growth within the middle class. In fact, right now they are busy building 69 airports around the country, so that in the future no person in the country will be more than a 90-minute drive from an airport.

答:安永(Ernst & Young)公司预测,到2030年,中国将有近十亿人口进入中产阶级,拥有可用于国内外旅游的可支配收入。十年前,中国政府选择旅游业作为经济发展的关键支柱,他们在经济衰退曲线之前便开始投资高铁、综合酒店和机场,吸收中产阶级的收入增长。如今,他们正忙于在全国修建69个机场,未来全国所有人距离机场的车程都在90分钟以内。

And this won’t be limited to domestic travel. Over the last three years, the amount of people traveling outbound from China has nearly doubled to 100 million. That figure is forecast to rise to 200 million by 2020.

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Which countries are currently being visited most?


Statistically, around the world it’s still France, United States, China and Spain, in that order. France is still way out in the lead with 83 million visitors in 2012; in the same year, the United States had 67 million and China and Spain both had 57 million.


What steps can a country take to help its tourism industry grow?


One of the major inhibitors of the travel industry is that 70 percent of people who travel still need to go to an embassy in order to visit another country.


The U.K.’s inbound tourism has been static since 2005 and a lot of that’s down to visa facilitation. Say you want to go on holiday in Europe. You can get one of the Schengen visas that allow you to visit all of the 25 participating countries on the Continent. But if you want to go to the U.K., even for a few days, you have to queue up at the consulate, pay money and go through an interview process to get a second visa.


The opposite of that equation would be Mexico. If you have already fought your way through the U.S. system to get a visa, that’s perfectly acceptable for them and they’ll allow you to come without having to go through the process again. There are pockets of the world that have made great progress. Countries in Latin America and Asia are starting to offer common visas, which ultimately might progress into Schengen type models.




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