Recent years have seen some large increases in the budgets of National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) in emerging economies, a new joint UNWTO and European Travel Commission (ETC) report has revealed.
In spite of the difficult economic climate, the report, Budgets of National Tourism Organizations, 2008-2009, reveals that some two thirds of the surveyed NTOs saw an increase in their budgets in 2009, although at a lower rate of growth than that registered between 2006 and 2008. This growth was particularly significant in emerging economies.
According to the report, increases in NTO budgets can in part be attributed to the continuing trend towards establishing well-funded national tourism promotion agencies in emerging economies and the awareness of the potential for boosting tourism through increased promotion. The importance of additional funding as a complement to initial budgets seems to have been increasing to cater for sporting mega-events, to promote big cultural events, business events and Expos or to recover from specific disruptions affecting tourism such as natural disasters, health outbreaks, or the overall global economic crisis.
Another key finding of the publication has been the increased responsibility for domestic tourism among NTOs. With consumers tending to travel closer to home in times of economic hardship, several destinations have seen domestic tourism endure the crisis better and even grow significantly. The publication reports that 70% of respondents currently see domestic tourism as a core responsibility, more than double the equivalent share five years ago. UNWTO estimates that domestic tourism represents four times the volume of international tourism, i.e., there are some 4 billion domestic tourist arrivals worldwide compared to the 880 million international tourist arrivals registered in 2009.
The publication further identifies e-marketing priorities and trends, in particular regarding the use of new technologies in tourism marketing and promotion. The report reveals that average spending on internet and e-marketing activities varies from US$ 5-7 million for some of the largest and richest destinations to US$ 50,000 for some of the smaller ones. In spite of the growing importance given by NTOs to electronic communications, most NTO marketing budgets are still allocated to advertising, printed materials and participation in fairs.
The joint report responds to the need for up-to-date, internationally comparable information on NTO budgets for inbound tourism promotion, as well as their various structures and functions. The report compiles and analyses data on the overall budgets of 62 NTOs (and National Tourism Administrations where the country does not have a separate NTO) from around the world, including their respective sources of funding and their spending priorities, as well as their main areas of promotional investment.