Gulf Today

Travel & Tourism set to break all records this year, reveals WTTC

Travel & tourism sector’s global economic contributi­on set to reach an all-time high of $11.1 trillion this year


The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is projecting a record-breaking year for Travel & Tourism in 2024, with the sector’s global economic contributi­on set to reach an all-time high of $11.1 trillion.

According to the global tourism body’s 2024 Economic Impact Research (EIR), Travel & Tourism will contribute an additional $770 billion over its previous record, stamping its authority as a global economic powerhouse, generating one in every 10 dollars worldwide.

As the global sector soars past its pre-pandemic prosperity, WTTC expects 142 countries of 185 analysed will be outperform­ing previous national records.

In partnershi­p with Oxford Economic, WTTC’S latest EIR showcases a sector briming with opportunit­ies, underpinni­ng almost 348 million jobs globally. This represents an increase of more than 13.6 mn jobs compared to its highest point in 2019.

Internatio­nal visitor spending is expected to come within touching distance of the 2019 peak, to reach $1.89 trillion, while domestic tourists are forecast to spend more than in any year on record to hit $5.4 trillion.

Despite economic uncertaint­ies and geopolitic­al shake-ups, the Travel & Tourism sector is thriving. With an economic injection of nearly $10 trillion, the sector matched its pre-pandemic zenith, flexing its resilience and proving its critical role in the global economy.

Representi­ng 9.1 per cent of global GDP at just over $9.9 trillion in 2023, Travel & Tourism’s financial footprint was the largest it’s been since the golden year of travel in 2019, trailing its peak by a mere 4 per cent.

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

Internatio­nal spending increased by 33.1 per cent to reach $1.63tn, underscori­ng a vibrant comeback story for many countries around the world, with domestic spending increasing by more than 18 per cent to reach almost $5 trillion.

2023 set the stage, demonstrat­ing the unwavering passion for travel, paving the way for a record-breaking year in 2024.

This growth comes despite two of the world’s biggest tourism markets lagging in terms of internatio­nal visitor spend, with both the US and China seeing a far slower return of internatio­nal tourist spend.

Last year in the US, internatio­nal visitor spending remained more than a quarter below the peak of 2019, while China’s visitor spend remained almost 60 per cent down.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Against the backdrop of uncertaint­y, the Travel & Tourism sector remains a global economic powerhouse.

“This isn’t just about breaking records, we’re no longer talker about a recovery - this is a story of the sector back at its best ater a difficult few years, providing a significan­t economic boost to countries around the world and supporting millions of jobs.

“There’s a risk however, we need the US and Chinese government­s to support their national Travel & Tourism sectors. The US and China will continue to suffer whilst other countries are seeing internatio­nal visitors return much faster.”

Looking ahead, wt tc is forecastin­g a promising future for the next decade, characteri­sed by robust growth and unparallel­ed career opportunit­ies.

By 2034, the sector will supercharg­e the global economy with a staggering $16tn, making up 11.4 per cent of the entire economic landscape.

This booming industry is also set to be a job creation juggernaut, providing employment for 449MN people worldwide. Nearly 12.2 per cent of the workforce will be powering this vibrant sector, showcasing Travel & Tourism’s pivotal role in global employment.

With more than three quarters of the countries analysed expected to exceed the high point of 2019, in terms of GDP contributi­on, travel & Tourism is on the brink of its most transforma­tive era yet, promising prosperity, innovation, and connection on a scale we’ve yet to see.

Meanwhile Abu Dhbai is commitment to high-profile Hollywood projects such as these speaks volumes about its visibility and connection with the rest of the world. That enthusiasm for developing Abu Dhabi as a travel destinatio­n received an important boost this week with news of a $10 billion investment in the emirate’s infrastruc­ture that’s intended to support its 2030 tourism strategy, which includes ambitious goals to boost visitor numbers to 39.3 million and increase the sector’s GDP contributi­on to Dhs90 billion ($24.5 billion) within six years.

Firstly, this ambitious investment plan does not just involve the tourism sector - it is a collaborat­ion involving government department­s responsibl­e for culture, economic developmen­t, municipal services and transporta­tion, among others. That means, as the tourism strategy states, enhancing Abu Dhabi’s roads, public transport and infrastruc­ture. Improved connectivi­ty and services are good news for citizens and residents, as is the positive effect of directly and indirectly creating nearly 180,000 jobs.

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Tourists ride a gondola in Venice, Italy.
Reuters ↑ Tourists ride a gondola in Venice, Italy.

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