According to the 2023 Economic Impact Research (EIR) by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), global tourism is poised for a big rebound as it is set to reach a revenue of $9.5 tn in 2023. This number is just five percent below 2019 levels.
By 2033, the worldwide tourism revenue is predicted to grow to $15.5 tn. It will account for 11.6 percent of the global economy. In 10 years, the sector is also estimated to provide employment for a workforce of 430 mn people across the globe.
The latest EIR shows that 34 out of the 185 countries surveyed have already successfully recovered, surpassing the pre-pandemic gross domestic product (GDP) contribution levels of their respective travel industries.
Additionally, WTTC’s forecast indicates that by the end of 2023, almost half of the 185 nations will have either fully recuperated to their pre-pandemic financial standings or will be within a 95% range of achieving total recovery.
Last year, the travel and tourism sector sustained its remarkable recovery momentum despite grappling with economic and geopolitical challenges. It recorded an impressive revenue of $7.7 tn, which corresponds to a 22 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth. This revenue figure accounted for 7.6 percent of the global economy last year. It is also the sector’s most substantial contribution since 2019.
The global travel sector grew 24.7 percent YoY in 2021.
Robust Middle East performance
As global tourism rebounds, the Middle East proves to be a strong performer.
In May, a separate study from the UN World Tourism Organization showed that the Middle East displayed the best first-quarter performance in 2023. It is the only region to exceed 2019 arrivals, welcoming 15 percent more tourists compared to its pre-pandemic figure. Additionally, it is the first to turn back to 2019 levels in a full quarter.
Back in June, the WTTC also previously disclosed that the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s travel industry could bring in around $49 bn to the country’s GDP. This estimate is only 1.5 percent below pre-pandemic levels.
Anticipating a robust expansion, the council further projected that the sector would add nearly 7,000 jobs within this year. This figure will not only exceed the employment peak of 745,100 recorded before the pandemic. Additionally, it will increase the total workforce to more than 758,000 individuals.
“The national travel and tourism sector is recovering at a rapid pace, proving the UAE continues to grow in popularity amongst international travelers. The UAE is home to one of the world’s busiest and [most] successful airports, Dubai International, which acts as a gateway to the Middle East,” stated Julia Simpson, the president and chief executive officer of WTTC.
Emirates, one of UAE’s flagship airlines, carried over 14 mn passengers from June to August alone according to recent figures.
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