Travel Sector's Effect on Economy Could Reach Near Pre-Pandemic Levels, WTTC Says

New research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed that the global travel & tourism sector’s contribution to the global economy could reach $8.6 trillion this year, just 6.4 percent behind pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, before the pandemic stopped travel in its tracks, the sector generated nearly $9.2 trillion to the global economy; however, in 2020, the pandemic brought the sector to an almost complete standstill, causing a massive 49.1 percent drop, representing a severe loss of nearly $4.5 trillion.

The latest research from WTTC shows that as the world finally begins to recover from pandemic, the sector’s contribution to both the global economy and employment could reach almost pre-pandemic levels this year.

Research by the global tourism body 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, the sector could create 58 million jobs in 2022, to reach more than 330 million—just 1 percent below pre-pandemic levels and up 21.5 percent on 2020.

“Over the past two years, the global travel and tourism sector has suffered tremendous losses,” Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO, said in a press release. She continued: “As people start traveling again, governments must implement simplified rules, including the use of digital solutions. Travel of the future should be contactless while guaranteeing safety,” she added.

In 2019, the sector generated 10.4 percent of global GDP and more than 330 million jobs. To reach close to pre-pandemic levels this year, WTTC says governments around the world must continue focussing on the vaccine and booster rollout—allowing fully vaccinated travelers to move freely without the need for testing.

The global tourism body also urges governments to ditch the patchwork of restrictions and enable international travel using digital solutions that allow travelers to prove their status in a fast, simple and secure way.

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