North American Travel & Tourism GDP To Reach $3.1 Trillion by 2032

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According to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) latest Economic Impact Report (EIR), released today, the North American Travel & Tourism sector is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 3.9 percent over the next ten years. Those projections place it ahead of the two percent average growth rates for the regional economy and put the industry on track to reach an impressive $3.1 trillion by 2032.

WTTC’s newly published EIR, compiled in partnership with Oxford Economics, also predicts that the Travel & Tourism in North America will create an astonishing 9.5 million new jobs over the next decade, with employment growing at an average rate of 3.7 percent annually.

The global tourism leadership group is anticipating that the industry’s recovery will continue to gain speed for the rest of 2022 and that its contribution to the GDP will increase 38.2 percent to reach $2.1 trillion, with sector employment growing by 19 percent.

WTTC’s most recent report also indicates that Travel & Tourism’s economic recovery is on track to hit pre-pandemic levels as early as next year. Employment in the sector is expected to trail slightly, rebounding to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

“The pandemic cost North America’s Travel & Tourism sector a staggering 8.85 million jobs and nearly $1.1 trillion in GDP in 2020,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO. She continued, “The U.S. travel and tourism business is showing a strong recovery. While we respect CDC’s tough decisions during the pandemic, the science indicates that the antigen test for returning U.S. citizens and visitors is redundant. Other economies have scrapped all restrictions, the current antigen test is slowing the U.S. recovery.”

Infographic illustrating data from WTTC’s Economic Impact Report 2022. (photo courtesy of World Travel and Tourism Council)

Both the U.S. Travel Association and the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) have issued similar statements, encouraging the government to eliminate the inbound testing requirement for U.S. re-entry, saying that the outdated restriction is preventing the sector’s complete recovery.

Last year, the Travel & Tourism sector’s GDP contribution fell short of 2019 levels by 33.7 percent below, coming in at $1.5 trillion. The final numbers are thought to have been low partly due to the Omicron variant and the fact that numerous foreign nations re-tightened their border restrictions because of its emergence.

In 2021, the U.S. led with the highest number of inbound arrivals, while Mexico had the most outbound departures. And, together, they jumpstarted the North American Travel & Tourism sector.

Infographic, World Travel and Tourism Council, WTTC, Economic Impact Report 2022
Infographic illustrating data from WTTC’s Economic Impact Report 2022. (photo courtesy of World Travel and Tourism Council)

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, North America’s Travel & Tourism sector produced 8.9 percent ($2.3 trillion) of the overall global economy in 2019, a figure that fell to five percent ($1.25 trillion) in 2020 as the industry ground to a halt at the height of the worldwide crisis. Sector employment sustained an equally devastating blow, as job contributions dwindled by 35 percent between 2019 and 2020.

Despite the severity of the past two years’ setbacks, WTTC’s 2022 EIR forecasts that the tide is finally turning for Travel & Tourism, with momentum building and growth increasing as the industry emerges from the difficulties that mired it during the pandemic’s peak.

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Source: TravelPulse

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