The Travel & Tourism sector is expected to create nearly 126 million new jobs within the next decade, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said on Thursday.
According to the Council’s latest Economic Impact Report (EIR), presented at the WTTC’s 21st Global Summit in the Philippines, the tourism sector will be a driving force of the global economic recovery.
“One in three of every new job created will be related to our sector,” WTTC President & CEO Julia Simpson said.
The EIR also revealed that global Travel & Tourism GDP could reach pre-pandemic levels by 2023 – just 0.1 percent below 2019 levels.
The sector’s contribution to GDP is expected to grow a massive 43.7 percent to almost US$ 8.4 trillion by the end of 2022, amounting to 8.5 percent of the total global economic GDP – just 13.3 percent behind 2019 levels.
Before the pandemic, the Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to GDP was 10.3 percent (U.S. $9.6 trillion) in 2019, falling to 5.3 percent (nearly U.S. $4.8 trillion) in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its height, which represented a staggering 50 percent loss.
Global Travel & Tourism employment is expected to grow in 2022 by 3.5 percent, making up 9.1 percent of the global job market, lagging behind 2019 levels by 10 percent, according to the EIR.
Travel & Tourism employment is expected to approach 2019 levels in 2023, only 2.7 percent below.
“Looking to this year and the next, WTTC forecast a brighter future with both GDP and employment set to reach pre-pandemic levels by next year,”Simpson said.
Omicron variant, travel restrictions slowed tourism’s recovery
Looking back a year, WTTC’s latest EIR report also revealed that 2021 saw the beginning of the recovery for the global Travel & Tourism sector as its contribution to GDP climbed 21.7 percent year on year, to reach more than US$5.8 trillion, and recovered over 18 million global Travel & Tourism jobs, representing a positive 6.7 percent rise last year.
“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,” WTTC’s CEO said, referring to the fact that many countries reinstated severe travel restrictions.
Simpson highlighted that governments 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.