Industry and entrepreneurship

Active policies needed for a competitive and sustainable tourism sector


10/03/2016 - The tourism industry in OECD countries continues to grow strongly despite economic weakness in advanced economies, and outperformed tourism globally in 2014. However, active, innovative and integrated policies are needed to ensure that tourism remains a competitive and sustainable sector, says OECD.

According to OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2016, OECD countries remain the most popular travel destinations in the world, accounting for more than 60% of global travel receipts. Their market share rebounded in 2014, as tourist arrivals to OECD countries grew by 6.4%, compared to 4.2% globally. However, emerging tourism destinations are expected to grow more dynamically in the longer term. The rapidly evolving geopolitical environment will also continue to affect travel flows.


Within the OECD area, tourism remains a major contributor to national economies, accounting on average for 4.1% of GDP, 5.9% of employment and 21.3% of service exports. The sector helped to stabilise the labour markets after the economic crisis, increasing its relative share in total employment in Greece, Portugal and Spain between 2008 and 2014.


“Tourism remains one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in the world economy. It is a source of jobs, economic growth, export revenue and domestic value-added”, said OECD Deputy Secretary General Stefan Kapferer when presenting the report at the International Tourism Fair ITB in Berlin.


Two chapters of OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2016 analyse the role of transport in enhancing the visitor experience and the challenges and opportunities linked to the growth of the tourism sharing economy.


Transport as the key enabling sector for tourism should be well aligned with the needs of the tourism industry. The report recommends better co-ordination between the transport and tourism policy makers to improve forecasting and ensure strategic transport planning that supports tourism growth.


The sharing economy has grown exponentially in recent years and much of this growth is in the tourism sector. Governments will have to deal with the challenges to consumer protection, regulation and taxation, to make sure that their economies can benefit from this trend. The report recommends modernising the rules and regulations covering the tourism industry so these are fit for purpose.


For a copy of the report or further information, journalists should contact Alain Dupeyras, Head of the Tourism Unit at the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development in the OECD (+33 1 45 24 91 45), or Matthias Rumpf, Media and Public Affairs Officer,  Public Affairs and Communications Directorate (+49-30-288 83 541).


For more information about OECD work on tourism, please visit:



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