Why Travel Is So Important To The World Economy

Photo of author
Written By Mostafa Moradi

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner can take off at breakfast in New Delhi and deliver more than 200 passengers at London Heathrow in time for dinner.

There’s nothing too astonishing about that, other than the flight shows how small and accessible the world has become.

The two cities are 4,167 miles apart on different continents.

Our crowded skies will be criss-crossed by an ever-increasing number of flights as a wealthy middle class spends more time and money travelling.

Every year, more people take to the skies for business and pleasure and the trend will carry on for the foreseeable future.

In 2015, 1.2 billion individual flights were taken, according the World Economic Forum. That number is expected to double by 2030.

Technology is key

“We need to rethink the policy framework to accommodate these two billion trips in the next 14 years,” she says. “How do we enable secure and seamless travel?” said Tiffany Misrahi, the organisation’s community lead for travel and tourism.

Technology is the key to speeding up travel.

Electronic boarding cards on a smartphone, biometrics at passport control and scanners at security points are making flying a better consumer experience.

Visaless travel is on the way, with ESTAs in the US and the European ETIAS system under construction.

But why are so many people travelling?

Travel for business is on the wane with video technology for meetings, but more people are retiring earlier and wealthier than before.

Tourism outpaces other sectors

They have the time and the money to spend on trips of up to three months away from home, and technology is the way they keep in touch with friend and family.

Email, social media and streaming video like Skype is an enabler for many travellers.

The boom in travelling is a huge boost for the global economy, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Travel and tourism grew at 3.3% last year and makes up 10% of global GDP and 11% of the world’s total employment, with both figures set to head even farther skywards.

CEO David Scowsill said: “This is the sixth year in a row that travel and tourism has outpaced the global economy, showing the sector’s resilience, and the eagerness of people to continue to travel and discover new places, despite economic and political challenges across the world.”