Tourism’s impact revealed

Cayman’s relationship with tourism is evident and a new report by the World Travel and Tourism Council drills down into the figures involved with the industry.  


The total contribution of travel and tourism to Cayman’s gross domestic product in 2011 was 23.8 per cent. 

The World Travel and Tourism Council’s report looked at various metrics in a snapshot of the current state of the industry as well as looking forward a decade. 

By 2021, the report said, the current $540.4 million per annum contribution of direct and indirect impacts on the economy would have risen 3.4 per cent each year to reach $731.1 million and 25.1 per cent of GDP by 2021. 

“The total contribution of travel and tourism includes its wider impacts (i.e. the indirect and induced impacts) on the economy,” read the report. These include travel and tourism investment spending, which includes the purchase of new aircraft and construction of new hotels as well as government collective spending which helps the industry in many ways as it is made ‘on behalf of the community at large.’ The council said that this includes tourism marketing and promotion, aviation, administration, security services, resort area security services, resort area sanitation services and so on. 

Finally, domestic purchases of goods and services by the sectors leading directly with tourism include food and cleaning services to the hotels, fuel and catering to airlines and IT by travel agents. 

Induced contribution measures the GDP and jobs supported by the spending of those who are directly or indirectly employed by the travel and tourism industry. 

The direct number of jobs in tourism was 3,000 in 2011 – 8.5 per cent of total employment. This figure was not anticipated to change significantly by 2021. 

However the total impact, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry, was forecast to rise by 1.2 per cent each year from its current 8,000 jobs to 9,000 jobs in 2021. Currently, the council said, 25.7 per cent of total employment in the Cayman Islands is tourism-related, rising to 26.9 per cent in 2021. 

“This includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). It also includes, for example, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists,” said the document. 

Visitor exports  

Visitor exports during 2011 are expected to generate $310.1 million or 23.8 per cent of total experts. In nominal terms, this will increase by 5.3 per cent per annum to reach $398.7 million in 20121. Investment is estimated as $115.8 million or 23.4 per cent total investment in 2011 and will rise by 1.9 per cent each year to reach $139.1 million, or 23.8 per cent, in 2021. 

“Visitor exports are a key component of the direct contribution of Travel & Tourism. The Cayman Islands are expected to attract 297,000 international tourist (overnight visitor) arrivals in 2011, generating $310.1million in visitor exports (foreign visitor spending, including spending on transportation).” 

The report said that leisure spending was by far the largest segment – inbound and domestic – with 92.3 per cent. Business travel was 7.7 per cent. 

In terms of total contribution in a dollar value to Gross Domestic Product, Cayman was ranked 141st out of 181 countries the council looked at. However, as a percentage of total contribution to GDP, Cayman’s 23.8 per cent was ranked 28th, just behind Jamaica. The world average was just under 13.9 per cent. Cayman also exceeded the world average in percentage share of total contribution to employment with 25.7 per cent compared to the world average of 13.6 per cent, placing 23rd overall. Visitor exports, with 23.8 per cent, put Cayman in 41st rank above the world average of 5.75 per cent. 

Overall recovery  

The World Travel and Tourism Council said that the research overall had confirmed a recovery during 2010, with the industry’s global GDP increasing by 3.3 per cent to US$1,770 billion. Globally, 257 million people are employed by the industry. 

“While economic growth going forward faces many challenges – as both governments and the private sector in many developed economies seek to reduce their debts, and as the prices of oil and other commodities rise – the travel and tourism industry is still expected to be one of the world’s fastest growing sectors. Emerging economies, in particular, are expected to be increasingly important engines of such growth, boosting both international travel and also generating increasingly vibrant domestic tourism sectors. 

“We are delighted that travel and tourism’s role as a key pillar of economic growth is being increasingly recognised by governments in all regions of the world. This research clearly demonstrates the potential of travel and tourism to drive global economic recovery and generate employment, helping to ensure sustainable development and the alleviation of poverty by spreading the benefits more equitably across populations,” said David Scowsill, president and CEO of the council. 

scowsill, david

David Scowsill of the World Travel and Tourism Council.