WTTC: Global Tourism Industry to Create Nearly 126M Jobs in 10 Years

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s newest “Economic Impact Report” (EIR) has found that the travel and tourism sector is expected to create almost 126 million new jobs within the next decade. The bullish forecast from the WTTC also reveals the sector will be a driving force of the global economic recovery, creating one in three of all new jobs. The announcement was made on Thursday by Julia Simpson, president and CEO of WTTC, in her opening speech at its Global Summit in Manila, the Philippines.

The EIR shows travel and tourism’s GDP is projected to grow annually at an average rate of 5.8 percent between 2022-2032, outstripping the 2.7 percent growth rate for the global economy—to reach $14.6 trillion (11.3 percent of the total global economy).

The report also reveals that global travel and tourism GDP could reach pre-pandemic levels by 2023—just 0.1 percent below 2019 levels. The sector’s contribution to GDP is likely to grow a massive 43.7 percent to nearly $8.4 trillion by the end of 2022, amounting to 8.5 percent of the total global economic GDP, just 13.3 percent below 2019 levels. This will be matched by a boost in travel and tourism employment, which is likely to approach 2019 levels in 2023, lagging behind by only 2.7 percent.

Said Simpon: “The recovery in 2021 was slower than expected due in part to the impact of the Omicron variant but mainly due to an uncoordinated approach by governments who rejected the advice of the World Health Organization, which maintained that closing borders would not stop the spread of the virus but would only serve to damage economies and livelihoods.”

Looking back a year, WTTC’s latest EIR also showed that 2021 saw the beginning of the recovery of the sector globally. Its contribution to GDP increased 21.7 percent year on year, to reach over $5.8 trillion. Prior to the pandemic, the sector’s contribution to GDP was 10.3 percent ($9.6 trillion) in 2019, plunging to 5.3 percent (almost $4.8 trillion) in 2020 when the pandemic was at its height, which represented a staggering 50 percent loss. The sector saw a recovery of over 18 million global travel and tourism jobs, representing a 6.7 percent rise in 2021, meaning its contribution to the global economy and employment would have been higher if it weren’t for the impact of the Omicron variant, which led to the recovery faltering around the world, with many countries reinstating travel bans.

The EIR also shows travel and tourism GDP is forecast to forge ahead by an average annual rate of 5.8 percent over the next decade. This compares to the 2.7 percent average annual growth rate for the global economy during the same period. Global travel and tourism employment is expected to increase in 2022 by 3.5 percent, making up 9.1 percent of the global job market, lagging behind 2019 levels by 10 percent.

Overall, according to the WTTC, the 2022 EIR marks a change in fortune for the once-struggling global travel and tourism sector, which was left reeling due to the introduction of unnecessary and hugely damaging travel restrictions as a result of the pandemic.

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