Tourism intrigues me in economic terms, because it’s a larger industry than many people realize. It’s also treated as an export industry, in the sense that if a German tourist comes to the US, the spending is essentially in economic terms an export of “services” produce in the US and consumed by a non-American–even though the actual consumption happened within the geographical US. At a broader human level, tourism interests me because face-to-face direct interactions with people from other places, whether as host or as visitor, can shape how people from around the world view each other.

Thus, I read with interest the OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2018ECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2018  Here are some snippets (citations omitted):

“Global tourism has experienced steady growth for over six decades, culminating in an estimated 1.2 billion arrivals in 2016; a figure which is forecast to rise to 1.8 billion by 2030, with international tourist arrivals in emerging economy destinations projected to grow at double the rate of that in advanced tourism economies. Global expenditures on travel more than doubled between 2000 and 2016, rising from USD 495 billion to USD 1.2 trillion and accounting for 7% of global exports in goods and services. In OECD countries, tourism accounts for, on average, 4.2% of GDP, 6.9% of employment, and 21.7% of service exports.” 

What are some of the megatrends that will affect patterns of international tourism moving forward?
There is an expansion of the global middle class: “At the end of 2016, there were approximately 3.2 billion people considered to be in the global middle classes around the world. Annually, about 150 million people are joining this demographic group, with the majority of these (an estimated 88%), residing in Asia … ” The share of elderly in global population is rising: “The United Nations (UN) has projected that by 2050, nearly all regions of the world will have almost a quarter of their population aged 60 and older …”

Taken together, these patterns suggest much larger tourist flows from Asia to the rest of the world. They also suggest a possible emphasis on tourism involving the elderly. In some cases, this may take the form of a rise in multigenerational tourism. In others, it may just mean an emphasis on “accessible” tourism, which has an emphasis on having transportation connections and eventual destinations that work well for the elderly.

Another pattern involves medical tourism:

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