In a new report, the World Travel & Tourism Council details the critical role that the travel and tourism industry will play in the economic recovery of the Americas once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.
The WTTC’s latest annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) reveals that travel and tourism accounts for 8.8% of the total economy in the Americas and approximately 45 million jobs, or 9.8% of their total workforce.
As well, the report reveals international visitor spend totaled $324 billion, representing 7.3% of all exports.
Commenting on the findings, Gloria Guevara, WTTC president & CEO, said: “WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report (EIR) shows how the economic recovery in the Americas depends greatly on Travel & Tourism. In 2019, Travel & Tourism was a total of 8.8% of the entire economy. Once this pandemic is at an end, producing new jobs and bringing business and leisure travelers back will encourage suppliers of all sizes to restore their efforts to meet the demand.”
According to the report, Americas had a higher percentage of leisure travel with 74% compared to 26% for business travel. In terms of spending the region relies heavily on domestic which will be critical to the region’s recovery with 81% attributed to domestic spending vs. 19% international spending.
For two consecutive years, Travel & Tourism GDP growth outpaced the overall economy, growing at 2.2% in 2019, while the economy showed a 1.9% growth.
Said Guevara: “Over the coming months, it will be crucial to call upon governments all over the world to ensure the survival of Travel & Tourism – which currently has, up to 75 million jobs at immediate risk globally, with up to 5.9 million at risk in the USA alone. The WTTC’s ongoing partnerships with government organizations will be key as we look to pave the way to economic recovery.”
On a global level, the Travel & Tourism sector outperformed the 2.5% rate of global GDP growth for the ninth consecutive year in a row, thanks to an annual GDP growth rate of 3.5%. This made it the global economy’s third highest sector in terms of GDP growth.
The EIR shows the sector supporting one in 10 (330 million) jobs, making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.
A breakdown by WTTC shows Asia Pacific to be the top performing region worldwide with an impressive growth rate of 5.5%, followed very closely by the Middle East at 5.3%. The US and EU both demonstrated a steady growth rate of 2.3%, while the fastest growing country Saudi Arabia.