LONDON, U.K. — Travel & Tourism’s contribution to the global GDP could reach US$8.6 trillion this year, says the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
Major new research from the global tourism body shows that as the world finally begins to recover from the pandemic, the sector’s contribution to the global economy and jobs could reach near pre-pandemic levels in 2022, if the recovery of the sector continues to pick up pace.
The research also shows that if the vaccine and booster rollout continue at pace this year, and restrictions to international travel are eased around the world throughout the year – increasing the number of people who can travel ‘quarantine free’ – then the sector’s contribution to the global economy could reach $8.6 trillion, just 6.4% down from pre-pandemic levels.
In addition, the sector’s contribution to global employment could reach more than 330 million, just 1% below pre-pandemic levels and up 21.5% on 2020, representing a massive 58 million more jobs.
“Over the past two years, due to severe travel restrictions around the world, the global Travel & Tourism sector has summered tremendous losses,” says Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO. “Our latest research clearly shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and 2022 is certainly looking more positive in terms of both jobs and the economy.”
Simpson was quick to note, however, that there is much more work to be done to achieve a full economic recovery.
“Governments must shift their risk assessment from entire countries to the individual traveller and allow the fully vaccinated to travel freely,” she added.
To reach close to pre-pandemic GDP and employment levels in 2022, WTTC says governments around the world must do the following:
- Continue to focus on the vaccine and booster rollout
- Allow fully vaccinated travellers to move freely without the need for additional testing
- Allow all other travellers to travel with a negative test
- Continue to implement digital solutions that enable travellers to easily prove their status in a simplified and secure way
In 2019, before the pandemic struck, the Travel & Tourism sector generated nearly $9.2 trillion to the global economy. However, in 2020, the pandemic brought the sector to an almost complete halt, causing a massive 49.1% drop, representing a severe loss of nearly $4.5 trillion.