Travel and tourism to grow massive job appetite in next decade

WTTC’s latest Economic Impact Report (EIR) revealed the travel and tourism sector is expected to create nearly 126 million new jobs within the next decade.

The optimistic forecast also showed the sector will be a driving force of the global economic recovery, creating one in three of all new jobs.

Julia Simpson: The recovery in 2021 was slower than expected due in part to the impact of the Omicron variant

Travel and tourism 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 US$14.6 trillion (11.3% of the total global economy).

The report also showed global travel and 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 US$8.4 trillion by the end of 2022, 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 and tourism employment, which is expected to approach 2019 levels in 2023, only 2.7% below.

Looking back a year, the report found that 2021 witnessed the beginning of the recovery for the global travel and tourism sector.

Julia Simpson, president & CEO, WTTC, said: “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.”

In 2021, the sector’s contribution to GDP climbed an impressive 21.7% year-on-year, to reach more than US$5.8 trillion, as compared to 10.3% (US$9.6 trillion) in 2019, falling to 5.3% (nearly US$4.8 trillion) in 2020 when the pandemic was at its height, which represented a staggering 50% loss.

The sector also saw a recovery of more than 18 million global travel and tourism jobs, representing a positive 6.7% rise in 2021.

If not for the Omicron variant, which led to many countries reinstating severe travel restrictions, the sector’s contribution to the global economy and employment would have been higher.

WTTC’s 2022 EIR report showed that Travel & Tourism sector across Asia Pacific is set to rebound significantly and is estimated to create almost 77 million new jobs over the next decade, with contribution towards GDP to grow at an average annual rate of 8.5% between 2022 and 2032, more than double the 4% growth rate for the region’s overall economy.

Last year, the sector’s contribution to GDP rose 16% to US$1.58 trillion after collapsing by 58.8% in 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, job creation in the region last year was boosted by 6.2%, accounting for 8.6% of all jobs after falling 18.9% the previous year.

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