ECONOMY

U.S. Remains World’s Biggest Travel & Tourism Market

The latest World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC)
Economic Trends Report reveals the U.S. remains the world’s biggest and most
powerful Travel & Tourism market.

Its top ranking was reaffirmed, despite suffering long and
damaging travel restrictions which did little to halt the spread of COVID-19
and only resulted in serious economic losses.

However, while its number one position was retained, the
U.S. Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to the nation’s economy fell by
US$700 billion in 2019, to just under US$1.3 trillion last year.

Research by Oxford Economics for WTTC shows there has been
no change in the top three countries – with China second and Germany third.

But the rankings are illusionary as the top economies
bolstered their numbers through domestic travel, while international visitor
numbers plummeted.

In the U.S., International traveller spend rankings saw it
toppled from its pre-pandemic top position.

But despite the challenges of the past two years, the new
report from the global tourism body shows business travel is on the road to
recovery.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Our report
shows the resilience of the Travel & Tourism sector, despite the impact of
travel restrictions around the world which failed to halt the spread of the
virus.

“Despite a challenging macro environment, Travel &
Tourism has bounced back. The world, with some exceptions, is travelling again.
And we are seeing a resurgence in business travel. Over the next 10 years,
Travel & Tourism growth will outstrip the global economy.”

WTTC’s data reveals that in terms of the Travel &
Tourism sector’s contribution to GDP, China held onto its second position, with
more than US$814 billion, while Germany remained the third biggest Travel &
Tourism sector in the world, contributing US$251 billion to the German economy.

The UK slipped dramatically from fifth place in 2019 to
ninth in 2021, with a contribution of just over US$157 billion, the biggest
faller of the top 10 countries.

In terms of international traveller spend, France, which
before the pandemic struck was in fourth place, overtook Spain, China, and the
U.S. to grab first place.

China, which remains closed to much of the rest of the
world, was in second place before the pandemic, but fell dramatically to 11th
position in 2021.

Across Asia Pacific, major Travel & Tourism markets such
as Thailand and Japan saw huge losses in international spending, which resulted
in both markets – in fifth and eighth place respectively before the pandemic –
falling out of the top 20 altogether in 2021.

According to WTTC’s predictions, worldwide business travel
is expected to grow more than 41% this year. For the next 10 years it predicts
business travel could grow an average of 5.5% annually and may return faster in
the Asia-Pacific region.

WTTC predicts by 2032, China could overtake the U.S. to
become the world’s biggest Travel & Tourism market.

The research shows China’s Travel & Tourism sector’s
contribution to GDP could reach US$3.9 trillion by 2032, making it the world’s
most powerful Travel & Tourism market, and India could leapfrog Germany to
reach third place with a projected value of US$457 billion.



Source: Wadsam

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