Tourism Poised to Smash Records in 2024: WTTC

WTTC Predicts Global GDP Impact to Surpass $11 Trillion in 2024 and Unprecedented Job Growth Expected in the Sector

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is anticipating an unparalleled year for Travel & Tourism in 2024, with the sector’s global economic contribution projected to reach an extraordinary high of $11.1 trillion. In its 2024 Economic Impact Research (EIR), the global tourism authority forecasts an additional $770 billion surge over its previous record, solidifying its status as a powerhouse in the global economy, generating one out of every 10 dollars worldwide.

As the sector surpasses its pre-pandemic prosperity, WTTC foresees 142 out of 185 analyzed countries outperforming their previous national records.

In collaboration with Oxford Economics, WTTC’s latest EIR paints a picture of a sector brimming with opportunities, supporting nearly 348 million jobs globally. This marks an increase of more than 13.6 million jobs compared to its peak in 2019. International visitor spending is expected to approach the 2019 peak, reaching $1.89 trillion, while domestic tourists are projected to spend more than in any previous year, totalling $5.4 trillion.

Reflecting on the Previous Year

Despite economic uncertainties and geopolitical shifts, the Travel & Tourism sector is thriving. With an economic boost of nearly $10 trillion, the sector matched its pre-pandemic peak, showcasing its resilience and essential role in the global economy.

Representing 9.1% of global GDP at just over $9.9 trillion in 2023, Travel & Tourism’s financial impact was the largest since 2019, trailing its peak by only 4%.

The sector also bolstered its workforce by an additional 27.4 million, bringing the total to nearly 330 million jobs worldwide.

International spending surged by 33.1% to reach $1.63 trillion, signalling a vibrant comeback for many countries, while domestic spending rose by over 18% to almost $5 trillion.

The groundwork laid in 2023 sets the stage for a record-breaking year in 2024, despite sluggish returns in two of the world’s largest tourism markets, the U.S. and China, in terms of international visitor spending.

Last year, international visitor spending in the U.S. remained more than a quarter below the 2019 peak, while China saw a nearly 60% decline in visitor spend.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, remarked: “Amidst uncertainty, the Travel & Tourism sector remains a global economic force. “This isn’t merely about surpassing records; we’re witnessing the sector’s resurgence after challenging years, providing a significant economic boost worldwide and supporting millions of jobs. “Yet, there’s a need for support from the U.S. and Chinese governments for their national Travel & Tourism sectors. While other countries are experiencing a quicker return of international visitors, the U.S. and China risk falling behind.”

Travel & Tourism a Decade from Now

Looking ahead, WTTC predicts a bright future for the next decade, marked by robust growth and unprecedented career opportunities. By 2034, the sector is projected to inject a staggering $16 trillion into the global economy, constituting 11.4% of the entire economic landscape.

This thriving industry is poised to be a powerhouse in job creation, employing 449 million people worldwide. Nearly 12.2% of the workforce will be driving this vibrant sector, highlighting Travel & Tourism’s pivotal role in global employment.

With over three-quarters of analyzed countries expected to surpass the 2019 GDP contribution peak, Travel & Tourism stands on the cusp of its most transformative era yet, promising prosperity, innovation, and connectivity on an unprecedented scale.

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