WTTC’s Cities Economic Impact Report (EIR) unveiled at the 22nd Global Summit in Riyadh on December 1 shows that major cities remain the powerhouses of global tourism and will drive the recovery of the sector and economies around the word.
Sponsored by Visa, the report analyses 82 international city destinations and shows that prior to the pandemic major cities were popular destinations, accounting for almost half of all international visits, both as standalone destinations and as gateways to other tourism hotspots within countries.
As Covid woes recede, leisure and business travellers are flocking back to cities. According to the report, 10 cities are projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels in terms of direct travel and tourism GDP contribution to the city economies this year.
Doha, Qatar is expected to see the largest increase from 2019 to 2022, in terms of international traveller spend as well as in direct travel and tourism contribution to the city’s GDP, with an expected increase of 21%.
In Europe, Warsaw is expected to witness a significant 14% increase in 2022 versus 2019 in travel and tourism contribution to the city’s GDP.
In the US, Orlando is projected to see a 10% increase in direct travel and tourism contribution to the city’s GDP over that same period.
Over the next decade, travel and tourism is on track to become a key driver of economic growth once again, with faster GDP growth than other sectors, generating 126 million new jobs around the world.
By 2032, the travel and tourism sector will directly generate up to 8% of all jobs in the 82 cities analysed in the Cities EIR, up from 6.6% in 2019 and a low of 5.1% in 2020.
Julia Simpson, WTTC president & CEO, said: “Our report clearly shows that for millions of tourists around the world, major cities remain iconic global destinations. There’s still a strong appetite to experience the history, culture, and energy that cities offer travellers.
“Before the pandemic, cities were powerhouses for international tourists, serving as standalone destinations and as gateways to other tourist destinations within countries. This year cities are recovering around the world, and we forecast that cities will continue to grow and thrive over the next decade.”