The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed a new report that outlined the vital role the industry will play in the U.S.’ economic recovery post-COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. In its annual Economic Impact Report (EIR), WTTC shared that in 2019 travel and tourism accounted for 8.6 percent of the total U.S. economy and approximately 16.8 million jobs, or 10.7 percent of the country’s total workforce. The report also revealed international visitor spend totaled a $195.1 billion, representing 7.8 percent of the U.S.’ total exports.
This was, in part, the WTTC says, driven by the success of the efforts of Brand USA, which promotes travel to the U.S. (Last year, following its success, the U.S. government reauthorized the tourism marketing organization through to 2027.) In addition, this continued success was also driven by a strong private sector and the excellent private-public coordination across states, destinations and at a country level, led by the U.S. Travel Association.
This comprehensive report also shows the sheer size of the domestic travel market in the U.S, and how it will be key to powering the economic recovery. In 2019, domestic spending accounted for 84 percent of all spend, compared to 16 percent international in 2019.
According to the report, leisure travel spending accounted for 70 percent, whilst business travel accounted for 30 percent.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO, said in an official release, “Our analysis underscores how vital travel and tourism will be in powering the recovery of the U.S. economy, generating new jobs and driving visitors back to the U.S., having a positive domino effect on suppliers large and small throughout the industry.
“Our research also shows just how important domestic travel is to the U.S economy, and how it will be key to powering the economy.”
The WTTC’s EIR revealed Canada and Mexico accounted for 26 percent and 24 percent, respectively, of all visitors respectively to the U.S. between 2016 and 2018, with the U.K. following at 6 percent, Japan at 5 percent and China at 4 percent. The remainder of the globe comprised the last 35 percent.