City destinations worldwide are winning over travelers once again after a slowdown due to Covid-19, found the latest WTTC report released during the 22nd World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit in Riyadh this week.
The WTTC “Cities Economic Impact Report (EIR)” sponsored by Visa analyzed 82 international city destinations which prior to the pandemic were popular travel destinations, accounting for almost half of all international visits.
Today cities are still the “powerhouses” of global tourism, driving the sector’s recovery and economies around the world, said the report.
More specifically, according to the findings of the report, leisure and business travelers are returning to cities with 10 of the 82 cities examined projected to exceed pre-Covid levels in terms of direct travel & tourism GDP contribution to city economies this year.
Leading the way is Doha (Qatar), forecast to see the largest increase from 2019 to 2022 in terms of international traveler spend as well as in direct contribution to the city’s GDP, set to rise by 21 percent.
In Europe, Warsaw is expected to mark a 14 percent rise in 2022 over 2019 in contribution to city GDP, and in the US, Orlando is estimated to mark a 10 percent increase in direct contribution to city GDP.
“Our report clearly shows that for millions of tourists around the world, major cities remain iconic global destinations. There’s still a strong appetite to experience the history, culture, and energy that cities offer travelers,” said WTTC President & CEO Julia Simpson.
“This year cities are recovering around the world and we forecast that cities will continue to grow and thrive over the next decade,” Simpson added.
Overall, by 2032, the travel and tourism sector is set to create up to 8 percent of all jobs in the 82 cities analyzed in the Cities report, up from 6.6 percent in 2019 and 5.1 percent in 2020, said the WTTC report.