WTTC: Small Increase in Tourism Could Be Massive Boost for European Economies

New research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shows even a modest increase of just one million more international arrivals into Europe could generate an extra $48 million in GDP. This would provide a massive and much-needed economic boost for European Union (E.U.) economies that are struggling following the imposition of travel restrictions to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Last week, the E.U. finalized a list of countries that would be able to visit the bloc when it reopened Wednesday, July 1. Left off that list was the United States, due to its inability to curb the spread of coronavirus. Zane Kerby, president and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors, called the decision “a short-sighted decision that could have unintended long-term consequences.”

With that said, WTTC carried out an analysis that shows even relatively minor increases in traveling would bring significant economic and job benefits. To note: For every 1 percent increase in international arrivals (from both within and outside of Europe), a massive $7.23 billion in additional GDP would be generated. So, an increase of 100 million international arrivals—equivalent to an increase of 6.7 percent—would result in around $48 billion in additional GDP.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO, said in a statement, “We know restarting the travel and tourism sector is a huge challenge, but the economy can be restarted while also prioritizing and protecting the health of travelers and those who work in the sector. It is vital that governments ensure that the right measures are in place, such as protocols and a comprehensive testing and tracing program.

“However, WTTC research makes it clear that even a modest resumption of traveling can have massive economic benefits and bring thousands of desperately needed jobs back; providing a critical boost for the struggling travel and tourism sector and generating desperately needed GDP for economies left floundering after being struck by the pandemic.”


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