The Potential Impact Of An Iraq War On Travel & Tourism

WTTC has identified a base case scenario in which there is a diplomatic solution or victory after a short, contained war. Secondly, the more devastating impact of a prolonged war scenario was analyzed.

The WTTC research, produced for 161 countries worldwide, demonstrated the importance of Travel & Tourism to the world economy when the direct and indirect economic impacts of the industry are assessed. Under the base case scenario it is estimated that, in 2003, the Travel & Tourism industry will in 2003 account for:

* 195 million of the world's jobs or 7.6 per cent of total employment
* US$3,527 billion of economic value (gross domestic product) or 10.2 per cent of total GDP

The demand in 2003 associated with Travel & Tourism can be further broken down as representing:

* 11.2 per cent of all exports (US$1,010 billion),
* 9.6 per cent of all capital investment (US$686 billion)
* 3.9 per cent of all government expenditures (US$224 billion)

Travel & Tourism is forecast to see real growth (accounting for the effects of inflation) of 1.1 per cent.

A prolonged war in Iraq (war scenario) would destroy more than three million jobs in the global Travel & Tourism industry and eliminate more than US$30,000 million of economic value in 2003, the latest research from the World Travel & Tourism Council shows.

“In the event this worst case scenario takes place, we will look for immediate and decisive action from governments to protect and secure this vital world industry,” said WTTC President Jean-Claude Baumgarten.

In particular, Baumgarten called for strong and proactive public-private partnerships to develop emergency contingency plans that would help mitigate the impact of events. Key interventions might range from tax breaks to increased levels of investment by governments in security, tourism promotion and infrastructure.

Developed and developing countries alike stand to suffer significant loss of economic value and employment on par with the damage caused by the terrorist events of September 11, 2001. Richard Miller, vice president for research and economics at the WTTC, said: “The industry should brace itself for a possible repeat of post-September 11 losses if the conflict is not resolved peacefully or quickly.”

The impact of a prolonged war will not, however, have a uniform impact on all countries. The world's largest economy, the USA, will suffer a massive shock with an estimated loss of 450,000 jobs and a decrease in the economic value of the travel and tourism industry of 3.7 per cent.

Within the European Union close to 260,000 jobs would be lost and the Travel & Tourism industry would see its GDP slide by 0.7per cent (about US$270m of economic value).

WTTC has posted its 2003 research on its website ( for immediate access.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is the Global Business Leaders Forum for Travel & Tourism. Its Members are Chief Executives from all sectors of the travel industry. Its central goal is to work with governments to realise the full economic impact of the world's largest generator of wealth and jobs – Travel & Tourism. The Council's policy framework for sustainable tourism development is encompassed within “Seven Strategic Priorities”.