Tourism the latest casualty of world troubles

If the threat of terrorism wasn’t enough of a blow, the tourism industry looks like it will shed thousands of jobs due to the global financial crisis and the subsequent drop in travel.

Almost 500,000 people are directly employed in the tourism industry. More than half of tourism operators will look to cut staff this quarter, according to a survey conducted by the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF).

Confidence is low with many businesses losing faith in the international market, notes TTF executive director Olivia Wirth. “The first quarter of this year is looking fairly bleak for the tourism industry and the survey clearly shows that these conditions will continue well into 2010,” she said. “Only six percent of the tourism industry believes there will be a recovery this year.”

  • One would hope that cooler heads prevail and the tourism industry takes this one in stride. A lesson in over-expansion is to be found here, particularly when you remember that barring the discovery of some cheap, non-polluting, plentiful fuel for planes, trains and automobiles global tourism is bound to be a huge target of global ecology measures. It will not be a death knell when gas starts drying up, (though in comparison this report will look like a tempest in a teacup) but it will be a game-changer – and the survivors will be the ones who are planning for it now.

  • I’m advising all my clients to prepare for a tourism resurgence but be ready for it to be short and sweet. The truly unfortunate circumstance is that in much of the industry jobs are being kept by those most willing to make sacrifices of extra time worked and reductions in salary. These are not always the best qualified, or most experienced service people out there, and I can see service flagging in a way that can ultimately harm a business – particularly in the age of TripAdvisor and it’s ilk.