Global travel and tourism’s recovery slower than expected

The global travel and tourism sector’s slower than expected recovery will see its year-on-year contribution to global GDP rise by less than one third in 2021, according to new research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

WTTC says the recovery of the sector has been hampered by the lack of international coordination, severe travel restrictions and slower vaccination rates in some parts of the world which still hamper many regions of the world.

In 2019, the Travel & Tourism sector generated nearly US$9.2 trillion to the global economy, however in 2020, the pandemic brought travel and tourism to an almost complete standstill which resulted in a 49 per cent drop, representing a loss of nearly US$4.5 trillion.

While the global economy is set to receive a modest 30 per cent year on year increase from travel and tourism in 2021, this will only represent US$1.4 trillion and is mainly driven by domestic spending.

The research reveals that at the current rate of recovery, Travel & Tourism’s contribution to the global economy could see a similar moderate year on year rise of 31 per cent in 2022.

Last year, WTTC revealed the loss of 62 million Travel & Tourism jobs around the world and with the current pace of recovery, jobs are set to rise by only 0.7 per cent this year.

Similarly, research shows a more hopeful potential year-on-year jobs rise across the sector next year, by 18 per cent.

“Our research clearly shows that while the global Travel & Tourism sector is beginning to recover from the ravages of COVID-19 there are still too many restrictions in place, an uneven vaccine rollout, resulting in a slower than expected recovery of just under a third this year,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC president & CEO.

“While next year is looking more positive in terms of the global economy and jobs, the current rate of recovery is simply not fast enough and is in the most part driven by domestic travel, which will not achieve a full economic recovery.

“If governments can start looking internationally and support Travel & Tourism with simplified rules to enable the safe return of travel, there is the opportunity to save jobs and boost economic wealth.”

Closer to home, last month showed some positive signs in terms of jobs hiring in the hospitality and tourism sectors ahead of the reopening of NSW and Victoria.

Jobs ads for roles in hospitality, tourism and retail were up 6 per cent in September, compared with the previous month.