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Report by World Travel and Tourism Council-WTTC, “Travel and Tourism Economic Impact report: Global Trends” (August 2022)

This World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report provides comprehensive coverage of the recovery of the travel and tourism industry in 2021 (the year that saw the beginning of the recovery of the sector). The 2022 annual research which covers 185 countries/economies, and 26 regions of the world, reveals the extent of the recovery in 2021. Prior to the pandemic, Travel & Tourism (including its direct, indirect, and induced impacts) was one of the world’s largest sectors, accounting for 1 in 4 of all new jobs created in the world, 10.3% of all jobs (333 million), and 10.3% of global GDP (USD 9.6 trillion). Meanwhile, international visitor spending amounted to USD 1.8 trillion in 2019 (6.8% of total exports). Travel & Tourism enabled socio-economic development, job creation and poverty reduction. This in turn drove prosperity and significant positive social impact, providing unique opportunities to women, minorities, and young people. The benefits of Travel & Tourism spread far beyond its direct impacts in terms of GDP and employment, with indirect gains extending through the entire travel ecosystem as well as the supply chain linkages to other sectors. The effect of COVID-19 emphasised the tremendous importance and positive contribution of Travel & Tourism. In 2020, 62 million jobs were lost, leaving just 271 million employed across the sector globally. This 18.6% decrease was felt across the entire sector, with Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) — which make up around 80% of all global businesses in the sector— being particularly affected alongside women, the young and minorities. Meanwhile, the sector suffered losses of almost USD 4.9 trillion, with its global contribution to GDP declining by 50.4% year-on-year, compared to a 3.3% decline of the global economy. While 2021 saw the beginning of the recovery for the global Travel & Tourism sector, this was slower than expected, due in part to the impact of the Omicron variant, stringent and inconsistent border restrictions, and the lack of coordination among governments to tackle the pandemic. Travel & Tourism’s contribution to GDP increased by USD 1 trillion (+21.7% rise) in 2021 to reach USD 5.8 trillion, while the sector’s share of the whole economy increased from 5.3% in 2020 to 6.1% in 2021. Additionally, the sector saw the recovery of 18.2 million jobs, representing an increase of 6.7%. However, the outlook appeared positive, and the travel and tourism sector was once again showing its resilience and ability to bounce back. Despite the difficulties the sector was facing, WTTC projections pointed to a strong decade of growth. Travel & Tourism GDP is set to grow on average by 5.8% annually between 2022 and 2032, outpacing the growth of the overall economy (2.7% per year). Travel & Tourism GDP could return to 2019 levels by the end of 2023. What is more, the sector was expected to create nearly 126 million new jobs within the next decade.