As the world finally seems to be on the path to recovery, the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to the global economy and jobs could reach almost pre-pandemic levels in 2022, if the revival of the sector continues to gain traction.
1. Bouncing back
Travel and tourism could generate $8.6 trillion globally this year, according to new research by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). That’s just 6.4% below pre-pandemic levels.
In 2019, before the pandemic hit, the travel and tourism sector generated nearly $9.2 trillion to the global economy. However, in 2020, the pandemic brought the sector to an almost complete halt, causing a 49.1% drop, representing a loss of nearly $4.5 trillion.
Over the past two years, due to severe travel restrictions around the world, the global travel and tourism sector has suffered tremendous lossesJulia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO.
Despite the good news ahead for the travel and tourism sector, WTTC noted the importance to continue driving the recovery and urged governments to shift their risk assessment from entire countries to the individual traveller and allow the fully vaccinated to travel freely.
“Our latest research clearly shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and 2022 is certainly looking more positive in terms of both jobs and the economy. However, there is much more work to be done if we are to bring back all the jobs lost and achieve a full economic recovery,” observed Simpson.
2. Back to normal
Hope for a return to normal times is starting to be felt in Europe, with the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge saying that the continent could be in store for “a long period of tranquility”.
“Widespread immunity from vaccines and infections, combined with the change of season, puts Europe in a better position to fend off any resurgence in transmission,” said Kluge last Thursday.
Still, the WHO’s Europe chief cautioned against too much optimism and urged countries to continue their vaccination campaigns and intensified surveillance to detect new variants.
I remain optimistic that if we use the circumstances before us, we have the opportunity to experience more stable days ahead – a time when we will be able to not only manage Covid-19, but also have the capacity to address other urgent health priorities,” maintained KlugeHans Kluge, World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe
3. Opening up
Recently, more countries started announcing reopening plans. Denmark, whose population has a high 81% vaccination rate, has become the first EU country to lift all Covid-19 restrictions, while Morocco has announced plans to reopen to tourists on 7 February. Even the extremely cautious government in New Zealand is gradually opening its doors.