World Travel & Tourism Council Says Travel Rebounded in 2021

A new report from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reveals that the U.S. travel and tourism sector is on pace for year-over-year growth in 2021 of nearly 36%, a number that well exceeds the global tourism recovery. The best news? It’s looking like 2022 could be even better! 

The World Travel & Tourism Council is a non-profit forum of travel and tourism businesses and is the only private sector group to advocate for the travel industry. Their latest research shows the U.S. Travel & Tourism sector can expect a year-over-year growth of 35.6%, representing an increase of $393 billion, for a total contribution of nearly $1.5 trillion to the U.S. GDP. In comparison, the global economy is set to receive a 30.7% year-over-year increase from the travel & tourism sector in 2021.

“Our research shows that while the global travel & tourism sector is slowly beginning to recover, the U.S. is recovering faster than many other regions,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO. “Last year, the pandemic decimated more than five million Travel & Tourism jobs across the U.S.; however, due to a predicted rise in international and domestic spend this year and next, both jobs and GDP are on the rise.”

“The U.S. opening its borders and easing restrictions to major source markets such as the UK and the EU will provide a massive boost to economies on both sides of the Atlantic. However, the long-term recovery of the sector in the U.S and around the world depends on the U.S. border remaining open to international visitors and making travel easier,” Simpson continued. 

What’s the Outlook for Travel in 2022? 

At the current recovery rate, in 2022, the U.S. could experience a further year-over-year growth of 28.4%, representing an increase of $425 billion and bringing the sector’s total contribution to the U.S. economy beyond pre-pandemic levels at over $1.9 trillion.

The WTTC also outlined five areas that could improve growth in 2022: let fully vaccinated travelers move more freely, digital COVID-19 status markers, recognition of all WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines and continued health and safety protocols for traveler safety.