As one of the world’s largest economic sectors, Travel & Tourism creates jobs, drives exports, and generates prosperity across the world. Growth of the Travel & Tourism sector will continue to be strong. The value chain in general terms consists on the following group of activities:

  • Travel organisations;
  • Transport; Accommodation;
  • Food and entertainment;
  • Shopping: crafts;
  • Visitor experience: recreational, cultural, nature and sports activities;
  • Public national organisations such as Tourism Agency and National Ministries or Destination Agencies.

The economic activity is primarily generated by industries such as hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services) and it also includes, for example, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries.

In the Latin American countries covered by INNOVACT, the total contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP (including wider effects from investment, the supply chain and induced income impacts is relatively high. In Ecuador, in 2016 it was 5.1% of GDP and it is expected to grow up to 6.1% % of GDP in 2017. It generated 137,500 jobs directly in 2016 (1.9% of total employment) and the forecast is to grow by 7.1% in 2017 to 147,000 (excluding commuter services). In Colombia, the direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP in 2015 was 2.0% of GDP.

In the INNOVACT border areas, there is a huge potential for adventure tourism to grow. According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure tourism covers at least two of the following three elements: physical activity, natural environment and cultural immersion.

According to the UNWTO Global Report on Adventure Tourism, this kind of travel is resilient, attracts high value customers, supports local economics and encourages sustainable practices. The INNOVACT border regions are important destinations to be further developed for adventure tourism. The support of the tourism value chain can help generating income and employment and can help to protect natural assets and cultural values through sustainable forms of travelling and conservation.

In Europe, many regions focus on their economic development though tourism. However, they do not forget about aspects such as quality, sustainability, innovation and promotion to generate higher added value activities and to attract high value travellers and become more attractive and competitive in the overall global market. Regions such as the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Crete or Tuscany have highly developed Regional Innovation Systems built around their tourism sectors. Also countries such as Romania and Slovakia use the cluster approach to strengthen their tourism sectors. The Network of European Regions for Competitive and Sustainable Tourism (NECSTour) brings together around 35 regions of Europe with a strong competency in tourism, as well as tourism-related academic organisations such as universities and research institutes, and representatives of sustainable and responsible tourism business associations and networks from around 20 Countries of the European Economic Area.