Global tourism outlook, family-friendly hotels and more

Tourism boost, not bust

Travel and tourism to the rescue!

The World Travel & Tourism Council has some cheery economic projections in its latest report: Travel and tourism will grow by 2.8 percent this year, trumping the predicted global economic growth rate of 2.5 percent. The industry is expected to contribute $2 trillion to the global economy and support more than 100 million jobs. And when you take wider economic impacts into account, the number jumps to $6.5 trillion and 260 million jobs.

On a micro-level, the report forecasts strides and stumbles in specific destinations. Among them:

South and northeast Asia will be the fastest-growing regions in 2012, expanding by 6.7 percent.

●After a tumultuous period, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and North Africa are showing signs of recovery. Morocco, which is perceived as more stable than Egypt and Tunisia, is at the head of the class.

●Expect slow growth in the restless Middle East. Of the countries in the region, Qatar is expected to grow fastest. Interesting trivia: In 2010, Syria attracted almost 15 percent of all international arrivals in the Middle East, just behind Saudi Arabia. It’s not looking likely to repeat the feat in 2012, so far.

North America and Europe will continue to struggle. In fact, the European Union could experience a decline.

Pack up the kids and go

There’s enough to worry about on family vacations. Now you can at least take some of the guesswork out of deciding where to stay.

Parents Magazine evaluated 70 hotel chains for family-friendly aspects such as room layout, children’s programs, babysitting services and recreational facilities.

In the budget category ($99 to $149 per night), the top chains were Embassy Suites, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Hyatt House, Residence Inn by Marriott and Holiday Inn.

One step up in the mid-priced group ($150 to $249 per night), the magazine liked Loews Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Omni Hotels & Resorts and Westin Hotels & Resorts.

Check out the explanations behind the rankings at

Where travel’s a bargain

If you’re curious about what U.S. destinations will give you the most bang for your vacation buck, says it can help.

The Web site’s 2012 Travel Value Index looked at prices and discounts on airfare, rental cars and hotels, as well as entertainment affordability.

The top 10 destinations, beginning with the highest rating, were Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Phoenix, Tampa, Denver, Charlotte, Albuquerque and Miami.

Andrea Sachs, Becky Krystal