How soon will tourism reach pre-pandemic levels?

New research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed the global Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to the global economy could reach $8.6 trillion this year, just 6.4% behind pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, before the pandemic stopped travel in its tracks, the Travel & Tourism sector generated nearly $9.2 trillion to the global economy. However, in 2020, the pandemic brought the sector to an almost complete standstill, causing a massive 49.1% drop, representing a severe loss of nearly $4.5 trillion. The latest research shows that, as the world finally begins to recover from pandemic, the sector’s contribution to both the global economy and employment could reach almost pre-pandemic levels this year. The research also shows that if the vaccine and booster rollout continue at pace this year, and restrictions to international travel are eased around the world throughout the year – the sector could create 58 million jobs in 2022, to reach more than 330 million, just 1% below pre-pandemic levels and up 21.5% up on 2020. In 2019 Travel & Tourism generated 10.4% of global GDP and more than 330 million jobs. To reach close to pre-pandemic levels this year, the WTTC says governments around the world must continue focussing on the vaccine and booster rollout – allowing fully vaccinated travellers to move freely without the need for testing. The global tourism body also urges governments to ditch the patchwork of restrictions and enable international travel using digital solutions that allow travellers to prove their status in a fast, simple and secure way. Could 2023 be the year when the travel industry reaches new heights?

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. Tourism in India will not return to pre-pandemic levels till 2024. We will likely be slow, and will not likely reach the pre-pandemic level.

  2. In the short term, I don’t see travel getting back to pre-pandemic levels. As fuel prices are rocketing I think it will be the mass market, the package holiday market which will be hard hit.

    At the top end of the market, I foresee that the luxury market will flourish. Over the pandemic society has become very divided between the haves and the have nots.

  3. When The Times runs a headline like “Britons face biggest drop in living standards” you have to ask whether a significant number of people will even have the disposable income to travel. The hike in energy prices is going to affect demand across the globe.

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