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The global travel and tourism industry is booming, according to the WTTC


The global travel and tourism sector is predicted to reach $9.5TN in 2023, which is just 5% below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, when travel was at its highest. This was revealed by the the latest Economic Impact Research (EIR) from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). According to the report, 34 countries have already surpassed their 2019 levels. The research, which was carried out in collaboration with Oxford Economics, also forecasts that the sector will recover to 95% of the 2019 job level.

Looking back at last year, despite economic and geopolitical challenges, the travel and tourism sectorcontinued to recover at a rapid pace, with a year-on-year growth of 22% (it was 24.7% in 2021) to reach $7.7TN. This recovery contributed 7.6% to the global economy in 2022, the highest sector contribution since 2019, although its global GDP is still 22.9% behind its 2019 peak.

Conflict and Restrictions Conditioned the Recovery

The research also highlights that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and prolonged travel restrictionsimposed by some countries, such as China, had a significant impact on the global recovery. However, the recent decision by the Chinese government to reopen its borders from January is expected to drive the sector’s recovery and help it return to pre-pandemic levels next year. The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in significant job losses, with the sector losing over 70 million jobs, bringing the total number employed in 2020 to just 264 million.

However, following the recovery of 11 million jobs in 2021, the sector created 21.6 million new jobs in 2022, bringing the total number employed to over 295 million globally, representing one in eleven jobs worldwide. Spending from overseas visitors also grew by a record 82% to reach $1.1TN in 2022, indicating that international travel is firmly back on track.

A growing market for the next ten years

The Travel & Tourism sector continues to recover at pace, demonstrating the resilience of the sector and the enduring desire to travel,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO. “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. Travel & Tourism will be a growth sector over the next ten years. The recovery will speed up this year as Chinese travellers re-enter the market.”

WTTC’s latest forecast predicts that the travel and tourism sector will grow its GDP contribution to $15.5TN by 2033, representing 11.6% of the global economy, and will employ 430 million people worldwide, with almost 12% of the working population employed in the sector. The research also shows that 34 out of 185 countries analyzed in the EIR have now recovered to pre-pandemic levels in terms of GDP contribution, and by the end of 2023, almost half of the 185 countries will have either fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels or be within 95% of full recovery.

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