Travel Industry Anticipates Creating 126 Million New Jobs in Next Decade

Hospitality and leisure sector jobs on the rebound. (photo via metamorworks/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

The World Travel & Tourism Council has released its latest Economic Impact Report (EIR) during its Global Summit in Manila, Philippines this week, announcing the travel and tourism industry is expected to create nearly 126 million new jobs within the next ten years.

In addition to this big prediction, the report also noted that the industry will be a driving force for global economic recovery after COVID-19, creating one in three of all new jobs expected to be created in the next ten years.

Travel and tourism is expected to grow its GDP at an average annual rate of 5.8 percent in the next ten years, over twice the growth rate of the global economy, which is at 2.7 percent. The industry is expected to comprise 11.3 percent of the total global economy, which in 2019 comprised 10.3 percent of the global economy.

Additionally, the report found that 2023 could see pre-pandemic levels of GDP, expected to grow this year alone by 43.7 percent. Employment in 2023 is expected to climb to only 2.7 percent lower than pre-pandemic levels.

“Over the next decade travel & tourism will create 126 million new jobs worldwide,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO. “In fact, one in three of every new job created will be related to our sector…Looking to this year and the next, WTTC forecast a brighter future with both GDP and employment set to reach pre-pandemic levels by next year.”

This positive outlook on the future of the industry is much needed after the past two years. In 2020, the industry generated only 5.3 percent of the global GDP, dropping 50 percent from its 10.3 percent pre-pandemic level and causing millions to lose their jobs.

In 2021, the travel and tourism industry recovered more than 18 million jobs, and its GDP rose 21.7 percent from 2020, even through the impact of the Omicron variant.

“The recovery in 2021 was slower than expected due in part to the impact of the Omicron variant but mainly due to an uncoordinated approach by governments who rejected the advice of the World Health Organization, which maintained that closing borders would not stop the spread of the virus but would only serve to damage economies and livelihoods,” said Simpson.

One of the largest sectors of growth for the travel and tourism industry identified in the EIR report is the Asia Pacific region. Estimated to generate nearly 77 million new jobs and grow its GDP by an annual average of 8.5 percent in the next decade, the industry exceeds the region’s overall economy growth rate of four percent.

The WTTC also released a new report this week during its Global Summit on analyzing the readiness for sustainable travel and tourism growth of cities worldwide, called “Destination 2030: Global Cities’ Readiness for Sustainable Tourism Growth,” which is the first of its kind.

To view the WTTC’s Economic Impact Reports for 2021 and 2022, please click here.

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