WTTC Report provides recommendations for recovery of travel and tourism sector

Underlines the need to address the weaknesses of the sector shown during the pandemic by redesigning a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient future

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia have launched an important report that highlights the pain points to restore international mobility, and recommendations to drive the recovery of the travel and tourism sector, while enhancing its resilience.

The travel and tourism sector’s contribution to global GDP fell from nearly US$ 9.2 trillion in 2019 to US$ 4.7 trillion in 2020, representing a loss of almost US$ 4.5 trillion. Furthermore, as the pandemic ripped through the heart of the sector, a shocking 62 million travel and tourism jobs were lost.

This new report highlights WTTC’s latest economic projections which reveal the sector’s recovery is set to be slower than expected this year, largely linked to continued border closures and challenges linked to international mobility. 

The sector’s contribution to GDP is expected to rise by a modest 30.7 per cent year-on-year in 2021, representing only US$ 1.4 trillion increase, and at the current rate of recovery, travel and tourism’s contribution to GDP could see a similar year-on-year rise of 31.7 per cent in 2022. 

The report reveals pain points that focus on the urgent challenge to restore international mobility, framed by the need to address the weaknesses of the sector shown during the pandemic by redesigning a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient future.

This report demonstrates how international border closures, uncertainty due to changing rules, the prohibitive cost of testing, and the lack of reciprocity and uneven vaccination rollout have hindered the recovery of the travel and tourism sector during the past 18 months.

By June 2020, all countries still had some form of travel restrictions, playing an important role in the drop in international spending by 69.4 per cent that year. These restrictions, ever-changing and confusing, continued to significantly affect traveller’s confidence to book, as there was no clear pathway, nor global consensus, in terms of testing requirements, quarantine, and vaccination standards.

According to the report, the latest global traveller sentiment survey published by Oliver Wyman shows only 66 per cent plan to travel abroad in the next six months, and less than one in 10 have booked a future trip, showing the continued uncertainty of traveller’s decision-making. Costly PCR tests continue to have a detrimental impact on travellers, reversing any progress of making travel accessible and creating further inequalities.

“The travel and tourism sector is key for many livelihoods which continue to be affected by the failure to harmonise and standardise COVID-19 regulations worldwide. WTTC recognises the importance of restoring consumer confidence, and we have developed, with the public and private sector working together, a set of harmonised Safe Travel protocols for 11 industries across the travel and tourism sector. Our globally recognised Safe Travels stamp has been adopted by more than 400 destinations worldwide,” said Julia Simpson, President and CEO, WTTC.

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