Global travel, tourism to reach pre-pandemic levels in 2023: WTTC

WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson (PNA photo by Joey Razon)

MANILA – The travel and tourism sector’s contribution to the world economy is seen to rebound to pre-pandemic levels by 2023, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said Thursday.

Citing their latest Global Economic Impact Report (EIR), WTTC president & CEO Julia Simpson said travel and tourism is predicted to contribute USD9.6 trillion to the global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2023, a return to the USD9.6 trillion generated in 2019.

At the onset of the pandemic in 2020, Simpson said the total travel and tourism GDP went down to USD4.8 trillion and slowly rose to USD5.8 trillion the following year.

By the end of 2022, the EIR predicted the sector to further grow 43.7 percent to almost USD8.4 trillion, amounting to 8.5 percent of the total global economic GDP and just 13.3 percent behind 2019 levels.

“This year, we are regaining ground. Our data shows that by the end of 2022 we will have recovered to USD8.35 trillion. We are getting there and our customers are rediscovering travel,” Simpson said during the opening of the 2022 WTTC Global Summit in Manila.

Simpson said recovery in 2021 was slower than expected partly due to the impact of the Omicron variant but “mainly due to an uncoordinated approach” by governments over country-wide border closures.

The Philippines, which banked on domestic tourism throughout the pandemic, generated some USD41 billion or about 10.4 percent of the country’s GDP in the same year, according to its EIR for the country.

“For a sector that accounts for over 10 percent of global GDP pre-pandemic, and a substantial percentage of global employment; travel and tourism promises the most significant growth as the world begins to lessen restrictions on movement. It is on this promise that the Philippines anchors its resolve in supporting the recovery of the industry,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

EIR forecasts said global travel and tourism is likely to leap ahead by an average annual rate of 5.8 percent to USD14.6 trillion by 2032, at least 11.3 percent of the total global economy.

It also showed that tourism employment could balloon by 126 million within the next decade.

In 2022 alone, the WTTC projected global travel and tourism jobs to climb to 300 million, only about 33 million jobs behind 2019 levels. (PNA)

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