Canada’s travel and tourism sector will “catapult” the nation’s economic recovery, with its GDP contribution set to reach pre-pandemic levels by next year, according to The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) latest Economic Impact (EIR) analysis.
The WTTC forecast, shared on May 13, shows the industry’s contribution to Canada’s GDP could reach CAD$157 billion next year, which is just 0.8 per cent below 2019 levels.
Looking to this year, the report shows the sector’s contribution to GDP is expected to grow 25.4 per cent to CAD$138 billion, amounting to 5.3 per cent of the total economic GDP.
But employment levels in travel are set to grow at a slower rate, only three per cent this year, reaching just over 1.5 million jobs.
Over the next decade, travel and tourism’s GDP is expected to grow at an average of 4.4 per cent annually, more than twice the 1.9 per cent growth rate of the country’s overall economy, to reach nearly CAD$213 billion – 6.8 per cent of the total economy.
The forecast also reveals the sector is expected to create more than half a million jobs over the next decade, averaging more than 50,000 new jobs every year.
“After the agony suffered by Canada’s Travel & Tourism, businesses across the country can finally breathe a sigh of relief as the sector begins to recover from the ravages of the pandemic,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO.
“Following two years of severe and highly disruptive travel restrictions, which decimated the sector, the outlook for the future is much brighter for both jobs and the economy.”
Before the pandemic, Canada’s travel and tourism sector’s contribution to GDP was 6.3 per cent (CAD$158.1 billion) in 2019, falling to just 3.7 per cent (CAD88.8 billion) in 2020, which represented a shocking 43.8 per cent loss.
The sector also supported almost 1.7 million jobs in 2019, falling to just below 1.4 million in 2020, when the pandemic devastated the sector.
Following the decline in 2020, the global tourism body’s latest EIR report reveals that 2021 saw the beginning of the recovery for Canada’s travel and tourism industry.
Last year, its contribution to GDP climbed 24.4 per cent year on year, to reach CAD 110.4 billion.
The sector also saw a recovery of more than 116,000 travel and tourism jobs, representing a positive rise of 8.4 per cent to nearly 1.5 million.
The sector’s contribution to the economy and employment could 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.