Digitalisation, blockchain, corporate venture capital and green (sustainability and resiliency) projects are some of the current global trends in tourism investment.
These trends were highlighted by keynote speaker and United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Investment Principal, Miguel Angel Figueroa Calsina, as he spoke on the topic New Challenges Shaping Tourism Investment. The presentation formed part of the ‘Re-Imagining Tourism in Barbados’ recent online consultation.
Mr. Calsina pointed out that there was new diversification of investors, including physical and digital infrastructure, noting, “corporate venture capital activity has increased in travel and mobility solutions. It has even surpassed sectors such as fin-tech and health tech…bringing investors such as Google Ventures, Didi Chuxing, Softbank and Intel Capital”.
Providing an overview of tourism’s past and present financial statistics, he observed: “Globally, tourism was one of the strongest industries with the most consistent growth over the last 10 years and had an incredibly impactful value chain. The industry accounted for US$1.7 trillion economic growth, four per cent of the world’s GDP, and it employed one in 10 people with more women and young people than most other sectors.”
In addition, the Investment Principal noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had significantly impacted the sector, with tourist arrivals dropping by 74 per cent, from 1.5 billion in 2019 to 381 million, with an estimated loss of over US$2 trillion in global GDP, and 100-120 million direct tourism jobs at risk.
The UNWTO official reported that at present, various countries of all sizes are competing to attract investors, and recommended that Barbados’ tourism stakeholders identify opportunities and value propositions when deciding on future projects.
He also shared different financial models that could be adopted and stressed the importance of cooperation and collaboration with other organisations and sectors to recreate and rebuild business models.
The online consultation which began on Monday, is being hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank.