Major new research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed that as the global Travel & Tourism sector begins to recover from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, its contribution to the global economy could reach $8.6 trillion this year.

In 2019, before the pandemic struck, 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 halt, causing a massive 49.1% drop, representing a severe loss of nearly $4.5 trillion.

Latest research from WTTC shows that as the world finally begins to recover from pandemic, the sector’s contribution to the global economy and jobs could reach almost pre-pandemic levels this year, if the recovery of the sector continues to pick up pace.

Research by the global tourism body 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 – increasing the number of people who can travel ‘quarantine free’, the sectors contribution to the global economy could reach $8.6 trillion, just 6.4% down on pre-pandemic levels.

WTTC’s research also shows that the sector’s contribution global employment could reach more than 330 million, just 1% below pre-pandemic levels and up 21.5% up on 2020 representing a massive 58m more jobs.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Over the past two years, due to severe travel restrictions around the world, the global Travel & Tourism sector has suffered tremendous losses.

“Our latest research clearly shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and 2022 is certainly looking more positive in terms of both jobs and the economy. However, there is much more work to be done if we are to bring back all the jobs lost and achieve a full economic recovery. With so much is at stake, it’s vital we continue driving the recovery of our sector.

“Governments must shift their risk assessment from entire countries to the individual traveller and allow the fully vaccinated to travel freely.”

To reach close to pre-pandemic GDP and employment levels this year, 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 additional testing, and for others to travel with a negative test. continue to implement digital solutions which enable travellers to easily prove their status in a simplified and secure way.

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