The World Travel & Tourism Council’s latest Economic Impact Report (EIR) reveals the travel & tourism sector is expected to create nearly 126 million new jobs within the next decade.
The bullish forecast from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global travel & tourism private sector, also shows the sector will be a driving force of the global economic recovery, creating one in three of all new jobs.
The EIR report shows travel & tourism’s GDP is forecasted to grow at an average rate of 5.8% annually between 2022-2032, outstripping the 2.7% growth rate for global economy, to reach $14.6 trillion (11.3% of the total global economy).
The report also shows global travel & tourism GDP could reach pre-pandemic levels by 2023—just 0.1% below 2019 levels. The sector’s contribution to GDP is expected to grow a massive 43.7% to almost $8.4 trillion by the end of this year, amounting to 8.5% of the total global economic GDP—just 13.3% behind 2019 levels.
This will be matched by a boost in travel & tourism employment, which is expected to approach 2019 levels in 2023, only 2.7% below.
“Over the next decade travel & tourism will create 126 million new jobs worldwide,” said Julia Simpson, president/CEO, WTTC. “In fact, one in three of every new job created will be related to our sector. 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.”
She continued, “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 report also revealed that 2021 saw the beginning of the recovery for the global travel & tourism sector.
Its contribution to GDP climbed an impressive 21.7% year on year, to reach more than $5.8 trillion.
Before the pandemic, the travel & tourism sector’s contribution to GDP was 10.3% ($9.6 trillion) in 2019, falling to 5.3% (nearly $4.8 trillion) in 2020 when the pandemic was at its height, which represented a staggering 50% loss.
The sector saw a recovery of more than 18 million global travel & tourism jobs, representing a positive 6.7% rise in 2021. 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 severe travel restrictions.
The WTTC 2022 EIR report also shows travel & tourism GDP is forecast to leap ahead by an average annual rate of 5.8% over the next decade. This compares to the more modest 2.7% average annual growth rate for the global economy during the same period.
Global travel & tourism employment is expected to grow in 2022 by 3.5%, making up 9.1% of the global job market, lagging behind 2019 levels by 10%.