Trade and Tourism
Tourism is in a very general sense seen as the travel of people outside their normal environments for a number of purposes including leisure and business. It is therefore axiomatic that tourism represents the largest voluntary movement of people across international boundaries. For the first time in its history international tourism arrivals reached 1 billion in 2012 generating revenues of US$1.03 trillion (2011). The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) estimates that in the year 2020 international tourist arrivals will reach over 1.6 billion. In this context, it can hardly be denied that at the international level, tourism has experienced phenomenal growth over the past 50 years and today tourism is undoubtedly one of the largest business activities in the world. The importance of tourism to worldwide economies and indeed societies and culture cannot therefore be understated.
The Caribbean is by far the most tourism dependent region of the world and the World Travel & Tourism Council forecasts that by 2014 the wider travel and tourism economy will contribute 16.5 per cent to the Caribbean’s GDP – more than any other individual sector. However, the trade in tourism services in the Caribbean and by extension its contribution to overall GDP is being undermined by a number of forces, the most recent being the global financial crisis, which saw a dramatic fall in arrivals and tourism receipts for many Caribbean islands. Other forces include, crime, natural disasters, increasing global competition, the newly introduced airline passenger duty ( APD), climate change etc. The challenge to the Caribbean region is how to grow its market share in the midst of new and anticipated global changes.
Against this background, this course examines the importance of tourism as an export and its relationship to demand and to trade. Of necessity the course discusses and analyses the various trade agreements and their implications for the profitability of tourism services and the inter-related tourism and hospitality sub-sectors in the region. In attempting to understand how the region can become more competitive in terms of trade in tourism services, attention would be paid to newly emerging niche products that can add value, increase market share and tourism receipts.