According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, travel and tourism’s contribution to global GDP is expected to return to 2019 levels by 2023, adding tht it would have arrived sooner if governments had responded to the pandemic in a more cohesive and integrated manner.
That was the message from travel professionals gathering here this week for the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Global Summit, who stated that while demand is returning, impediments to travel remain.
WTTC CEO Julia Simpson said, “last year’s recovery was slower than expected due in part to the impact of the omicron variant but mostly to an uncoordinated approach by governments who rejected the advice of the World Health Organization, which maintained that closing borders would not stop the spread of the virus but would only serve to damage economies and livelihoods.”
The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that travel and tourism GDP would expand at a 5.8 % annual pace between 2022 and 2032, exceeding the world economy’s 2.7 % growth rate, to reach $14.6 trillion (11.3 % of the total global economy).
This year, travel’s GDP contribution is predicted to increase 43.7 % to over $8.4 trillion, or 8.5 % of total global economic GDP, down approximately 13.3 % from 2019, when the industry contributed $9.6 trillion to GDP.
Simpson was one of the Global Summit leaders who stated that it took Covid for governments to see the significance of tourism, and only after it was gone.
“It took a pandemic for leaders to understand our worth,” she said. “For almost a decade our sector’s growth outstripped that of the economy. Covid changed that.” But that doesn’t mean they are making it easy for travelers to rebound.
Panelists from all sectors agreed that uncertainty, bureaucracy, and unpredictability continue to be important hurdles to recovery in the travel industry, which are conflicting with strong travel intent.