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Global Travel and Tourism Industry Soars Towards Pre-Pandemic Peaks, WTTC Report Reveals

The Economic Impact Research (EIR) report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)

Global Travel and Tourism Industry Soars Towards Pre-Pandemic Peaks, WTTC Report Reveals

In an impressive turn of events, the travel and tourism sector has made a resounding comeback in 34 countries worldwide, surpassing pre-pandemic levels of economic activity. These revelations come as part of the 2023 Economic Impact Research (EIR) report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

According to the freshly unveiled report, the global travel and tourism industry has rebounded to over 95 percent of its 2019 economic activity, as it inches closer to regaining its former strength. The projections for 2023 forecast a reach of $9.5 trillion within the industry, merely 5 percent below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019 when travel reached its zenith.

Perhaps the most noteworthy insight is the WTTC’s ambitious prediction that the travel and tourism sector will significantly boost its worldwide GDP contribution, surging to an astonishing $15.5 trillion by 2033.

This forecast, if realized, would equate to an impressive 11.6 percent of the global economy. Furthermore, the industry is projected to provide employment for around 430 million individuals globally by 2033, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the global workforce.

The Industry Achieves Post-Pandemic Recovery:

Amidst the challenges posed by economic and geopolitical circumstances in 2022, the travel and tourism domain achieved substantial post-pandemic recovery. In particular, the sector experienced a 2 percent year-on-year growth, culminating in a total valuation of $7.7 trillion.

This figure translates to a remarkable 7.6 percent contribution to the global economy for 2022, marking the highest sectoral involvement since 2019. However, it’s worth noting that the industry’s global GDP remains 22.9 percent behind its peak in 2019. A 24.7 percent year-on-year growth was observed in 2021.

“The Travel & Tourism sector continues to recover at pace, demonstrating the resilience of the sector and the enduring desire to travel,” Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO, said in a statement. “By the end of the year, the sector’s contribution will be within touching distance of the 2019 peak. We expect 2024 to exceed 2019.”

Various global challenges, such as the conflict in Ukraine and prolonged travel restrictions imposed by several countries, including China, continue to influence the travel industry. The recent decision by the Chinese government to reopen its borders from January is anticipated to invigorate the sector, facilitating its recovery to pre-pandemic levels next year, as outlined in the report.

Additional Noteworthy Findings:

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector’s employment was profound, leading to a loss of over 70 million jobs from a pre-pandemic peak of more than 334 million. After a recovery of 11 million jobs in 2021, the sector managed to generate an impressive 21.6 million new jobs in 2022, surpassing the 295 million mark globally, representing one in every 11 jobs worldwide.

Highlighting the resurgence of international travel, spending by overseas visitors surged by a record 82 percent, reaching a total of $1.1 trillion in 2022. This substantial growth signals a strong return to international travel’s path of recovery.