The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) latest Economic Impact Report (EIR) reveals the travel and tourism sector is expected to create nearly 126 million new jobs within the next decade.
The bullish forecast, released Thursday (April 21), from the WTTC also shows the sector will be a driving force of the global economic recovery, creating one in three of all new jobs.
The insights were shared by Julia Simpson, president & CEO of the WTTC, in her opening speech at its Global Summit in the Philippines.
The prediction was delivered in the capital, Manila, before more than 1,000 delegates from across the global travel and tourism sector, including CEOs, business leaders, government ministers, travel experts and the international media.
Pre-pandemic levels by 2023?
The EIR report shows travel and tourism’s GDP is forecasted to grow at an average rate of 5.8 per cent annually between 2022-2032, outstripping the 2.7 per cent growth rate for global economy, to reach US$ 14.6 trillion (11.3 per cent of the total global economy).
The report also shows global travel and tourism's GDP could reach pre-pandemic levels by 2023 - just 0.1 per cent below 2019 levels.
The sector’s contribution to GDP is expected to grow a massive 43.7 per cent to almost US$ 8.4 trillion by the end of 2022, amounting to 8.5 per cent of the total global economic GDP - just 13.3 per cent behind 2019 levels.
This will be matched by a boost in employment, which is expected to approach 2019 levels in 2023, only 2.7 per cent below.
“Over the next decade travel and tourism will create 126 million new jobs worldwide. In fact, one in three of every new job created will be related to our sector," Simpson said. 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."
The recovery in 2021 was "slower than expected" due in part to the impact of the Omicron variant, Simpson noted.
"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 in global travel and tourism.
Its contribution to GDP climbed 21.7 per cent year on year, to reach more than US$5.8 trillion.
Pre-COVID, travel and tourism contribution to GDP was 10.3 per cent (U.S. $9.6 trillion) in 2019, falling to 5.3 per cent (nearly U.S. $4.8 trillion) in 2020 when the pandemic was at its height, which represented a staggering 50 per cent loss.
The sector saw a recovery of more than 18 million global travel and tourism jobs, representing a positive 6.7 per cent rise in 2021.
The sector’s 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.
Global travel and tourism employment is expected to grow in 2022 by 3.5 per cent, making up 9.1 per cent of the global job market, lagging behind 2019 levels by 10 per cent, the WTTC says.