The 2023 Economic Impact Research (EIR) by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) unveils a promising outlook for Portugal’s Travel & Tourism sector, projecting it to surpass its 2019 peak this year.
According to the report, the sector is expected to contribute a remarkable €40.4 billion to the Portuguese economy by the end of 2023, surpassing the pre-pandemic high of €40.1 billion recorded in 2019. In addition, WTTC forecasts the creation of around 30,000 jobs this year, bridging the gap of 68,000 jobs from the 2019 level, to reach 950,000 employed by the Travel & Tourism industry.
Reflecting on last year’s performance, the Travel & Tourism sector’s GDP contribution impressively grew by 61.6%, reaching nearly €38 billion, accounting for 15.8% of the Portuguese economy. The sector also managed to create an additional 83,000 jobs, bringing the total to 921,000 jobs nationwide.
Remarkably, the latest WTTC report indicates that the sector has now bounced back to over 90% of its pre-pandemic level of jobs. Furthermore, international travelers returned to Portugal, with Spain, France, the UK, Germany, and the U.S. leading as the primary source markets for international arrivals.
In 2022, international visitor spend contributed a substantial €21.7 billion to the national economy, showcasing an impressive year-on-year growth of 80.4%, trailing just 7.7% behind the 2019 levels.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, expressed her optimism, stating, “The Travel & Tourism sector in Portugal is recovering strongly with high visitor demand.” She further highlighted the sector’s bright future, anticipating that it will surpass its 2019 contributions by the end of the year, and over the next decade, create 248,000 new jobs, accounting for one in four jobs in the country.
WTTC’s long-term forecast for the next decade is equally promising. The global tourism body predicts that the sector’s GDP contribution will grow to €56.4 billion by 2033, representing over one-fifth (21.1%) of the Portuguese economy. This growth could translate into employing more than 1.2 million people across the country, with one in four individuals finding employment within the Travel & Tourism sector.
Europe’s Travel & Tourism sector also demonstrated a robust recovery. In 2022, it contributed a substantial €1.9 trillion to the regional economy, just 7% below the 2019 peak. WTTC anticipates that the regional sector’s GDP contribution will reach €2.04 trillion in 2023, nearly reaching its pre-pandemic highpoint.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the sector employed 34.7 million people across the region in 2022, a significant increase of 2.9 million from the previous year. WTTC forecasts a full recovery of the jobs lost during the pandemic by the end of 2024.