Travel & tourism could grow to $8.6T in 2022

New research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed the global travel & tourism sector’s contribution to the global economy could reach $8.6 trillion this year, just 6.4% behind pre-pandemic levels.

In 2019, before the pandemic stopped travel in its tracks, the travel & tourism 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% 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 the 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% below pre-pandemic levels and up 21.5% up on 2020.

“Over the past two years, the global travel & tourism sector has suffered tremendous losses,” said Julia Simpson, president/CEO, WTTC. “2022 is poised for a strong recovery if governments continue to open up and remove restrictions to travel. Our sector could recover more than 58 million jobs and generate $8.6 trillion which would boost economic recovery around the world. 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. “

In 2019, travel & tourism generated 10.4% 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 focusing 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.