WTTC sees light at end of Covid tunnel

by Paul Needham
Thursday, February 03, 2022

„Travel of the future should be contactless while guaranteeing safety“: Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, underlines the importance of digital solutions.
The global travel and tourism industry could make a strong comeback from the Covid pandemic this year, boosting economies and employment – if governments focus on boosting vaccinations and easing travel restrictions, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is predicting.

New research from the industry body found that the global travel & tourism sector’s contribution to the global economy could reach $8.6 trillion this year, just 6.4% behind pre-pandemic levels, while employment levels could almost return to 2019 levels.

In 2019, before the pandemic stopped travel in its tracks, the sector generated nearly $9.2 trillion to the global economy. But this figure slumped by a massive 49% in 2020 as the pandemic brought the sector to an almost complete standstill, representing a severe loss of nearly $4.5 trillion.

Jobs boost

According to the WTTC, a strong comeback would enable the sector to create 58 million jobs this year, expanding the sector’s employment level to about 330 million jobs. This would be just 1% below pre-pandemic levels and up 21.5% up on 2020.

In 2019, Travel & Tourism generated 10.4% of global GDP and accounted for more than 330 million jobs, according to WTTC numbers.

More vaccines and fewer restrictions

However, this potential recovery as the world finally begins to recover from pandemic also depends on government measures to support the sector directly and indirectly, the association of major private travel companies underlined.

The two key measures are a continued rapid rollout of vaccines (and boosters) around the world and an easing of international travel restrictions, allowing fully vaccinated travellers to move freely without the need for testing.

„Poised for strong recovery“

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: „Over the past two years, the global Travel & Tourism sector has suffered tremendous losses.

„2022 is poised for a strong recovery if governments continue to open up and remove restrictions to travel. Our sector could recover more than 58 million jobs and generate $8.6 trillion which would boost economic recovery around the world.“

European comeback

The WTTC last month already predicted a strong recovery for the European travel and tourism sector in 2022, based on the latest booking figures for the forthcoming Easter and summer holiday periods.

Bookings for intra-European travel over the Easter period have increased by more than 250%, while summer bookings are currently 80% above 2021 levels, according to figures from WTTC’s ‚knowledge partner‘ Forward Keys, a leading travel data and analytics company. This would be „only“ 38% and 45% below 2019 levels for the two periods respectively.

In addition, during the first quarter of 2022, intra-European travel has witnessed a 275% surge in bookings, while latest booking data shows that international arrivals to European destinations will see an over 280% increase, compared to the same period in 2021.

WTTC chief Simpson commented: „Latest booking data shows Europeans are positive about travelling again. Bookings for Easter and summer are looking strong. Omicron has affected the start of the year, but as infections peak and the symptoms remain mild people are booking again.“

More digital solutions

The global tourism body also called on governments to ditch the patchwork of restrictions and enable international travel using digital solutions that allow travellers to prove their status in a fast, simple and secure way.

Simpson urged: „As people start travelling again, governments must implement simplified rules, including the use of digital solutions. Travel of the future should be contactless while guaranteeing safety.“
— Weiterlesen www.fvw.de/international/travel-news/2022-outlook-wttc-sees-light-at-end-of-covid-tunnel-223895