Travel and tourism’s contribution to the global economy could reach $8.6 trillion this year sector starts to recover from the ravages of the pandemic.
The forecast from the World Travel & Tourism Council would see the sector almost recover to the 2019 level of generating almost $9.2 trillion.
Covid-19 brought the sector to an almost complete halt 2020, causing a 49.1% drop, representing a loss of nearly $4.5 trillion.
However, its contribution to the global economy and jobs could reach almost pre-pandemic levels this year if the recovery in travel continues to pick up pace, latest WTTC research shows.
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 contribution would be just 6.4% down on pre-pandemic levels.
At the same time, the contribution global employment could reach more than 330 million, just 1% below pre-pandemic levels and up 21.5% up on 2020, representing 58 million more jobs.
But governments must continue to focus 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.
The global tourism body also urged governments to continue to implement digital solutions which enable travellers to easily prove their status in a simplified and secure way, and increase global harmonisation of measures and avoid any patchwork.
WTTC president and chief executive Julia Simpson said: “Over the past two years, due to severe travel restrictions around the world, the global travel and 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.”