Travel Trends

With Economic Impact 2022

Travel & Tourism

Economic Impact 2022

The travel and tourism industry is growing fast at an annual rate of average 9%, except for Covid pandemic years, that is 2020 and 2021. By 2026, it is projected that the market value of travel industry will be just around $10 trillion.

Travel is back again in a big way. With many countries loosening Covid restrictions and tourists regaining confidence in traveling, industry numbers are poised to outpace even pre-pandemic levels. To get a better understanding of where they’re headed and why, the emerging travel trends are discussed here thoroughly.





Travel & Tourism GDP (percentage of global GDP)




Change in Travel & Tourism GDP (Year on year)


-$4.9 trillion GDP loss


+$1 trillion GDP gain

Jobs supported by Travel & Tourism


1/10th of global employment


1/12th of global employment


1/11th of global employment



of global all net new jobs were created by Travel and Tourism

change in jobs (year on year)


jobs lost

change in jobs (year on year)


jobs gained


Impact 2022

Global Overview

Source: WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council)

While the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt across the entire Travel & Tourism ecosystem, 2021 saw the beginning of the recovery for the sector. For over 30 years, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has been quantifying the economic impact of Travel & Tourism, highlighting the importance of the sector globally. The 2022 annual research which covers 185 countries/economies, and 26 regions of the world, reveals the extent of the recovery in 2021.

Prior to the pandemic, Travel & Tourism (including its direct, indirect, and induced impacts) was one of the world’s largest sectors, accounting for 1 in 4 of all new jobs created in the world, 10.3% of all jobs (333 million), and 10.3% of global GDP (USD 9.6 trillion). Meanwhile, international visitor spending amounted to USD 1.8 trillion in 2019 (6.8% of total exports).

Travel & Tourism enables socio-economic development, job creation and poverty reduction. This in turn drives prosperity and significant positive social impact, providing unique opportunities to women, minorities, and young people. The benefits of Travel & Tourism spread far beyond its direct impacts in terms of GDP and employment, with indirect gains extending through the entire travel ecosystem as well as the supply chain linkages to other sectors.

The effect of COVID-19 emphasised the tremendous importance and positive contribution of Travel & Tourism. In 2020, 62 million jobs were lost, leaving just 271 million employed across the sector globally. This 18.6% decrease was felt across the entire sector, with Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) — which make up around 80% of all global businesses in the sector— being particularly affected alongside women, the young and minorities. Meanwhile, the sector suffered losses of almost USD 4.9 trillion, with its global contribution to GDP declining by 50.4% year-on-year, compared to a 3.3% decline of the global economy.

While 2021 saw the beginning of the recovery for the global Travel & Tourism sector, this was slower than expected, due in part to the impact of the Omicron variant, stringent and inconsistent border restrictions and the lack of coordination among governments to tackle the pandemic. Travel & Tourism’s contribution to GDP increased by USD 1 trillion (+21.7% rise) in 2021 to reach USD 5.8 trillion, while the sector’s share of the whole economy increased from 5.3% in 2020 to 6.1% in 2021. Additionally, the sector saw the recovery of 18.2 million jobs, representing an increase of 6.7%.

However, the future outlook is positive, and our sector is once again showing its resilience and ability to bounce back. Despite the difficulties the sector has been facing, our projections point to a strong decade of growth. Travel & Tourism GDP is set to grow on average by 5.8% annually between 2022 and 2032, outpacing the growth of the overall economy (2.7% per year). Our research shows that Travel & Tourism GDP could return to 2019 levels by the end of 2023. What is more, the sector is expected to create nearly 126 million new jobs within the next decade. While government support has been instrumental throughout this crisis, the swift recovery of the sector will only be possible if leaders and public officials work together and provide clear and consistent rules. Governments need to focus on co-existing with COVID-19 while enhancing preparedness for future crises, offering safe travel experiences, supporting equitable vaccine distribution, and continuing to ease the conditions of entry to destinations.

Travel and Tourism GDP



of global economy GDP (USD 9,630 billion)



(USD 4,775 billion)



(USD 5,812 billion)

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth rate of the global Travel & Tourism sector outpaced the growth of the global economy for nine consecutive years. After a devastating 50.4% fall in the contribution of the sector to the global economy, Travel & Tourism recovered by 21.7% in 2021 – shown in Figure 1. In comparison, the global economy bounced back by 6.7%. Travel & Tourism’s pace of recovery was slowed down by the spread of the Omicron variant in the second half of 2021 which forced governments to reinstate restrictions on international travel.

Economic Impact Timeline, 2000 - 2021

Sub-regional Travel & Tourism GDP change, 2021 vs 2020

G20 Countries: Select Travel & Tourism Indicators

Total Travel & Tourism GDP (2021 relative to 2019) vs the domestic share of total demand (2019)

Travel and Tourism Impact - Regional Overview - 2019

Travel and Tourism Impact - Regional Overview - 2020

Travel and Tourism Impact - Regional Overview - 2021

Travel and Tourism Employment



(1 in 10 of all jobs)



(62 million jobs lost)



+18.2m jobs (1 in 10 of all jobs)

In 2019, Travel & Tourism supported 333 million jobs around the world, representing 1 in 10 of all jobs globally. Despite government retention schemes such as furloughs and others which supported employment, 62 million jobs were lost in 2020 — a decline of 18.6%. As the contribution of the sector to the global economy increased by 21.7% in 2021, it was accompanied by a rise in the number of Travel & Tourism jobs from 271.3 million in 2020 to 289.5 million in 2021, an increase of 18.2 million jobs (6.7% rise). Consequently, the sector supported 1 in 11 jobs across the entire economy in 2021. The change in Travel & Tourism’s contribution to jobs is slower than the change in contribution to GDP because jobs are less elastic and hence, are less volatile. This is because the process of laying off existing staff and onboarding new personnel takes time.

Travel & Tourism Total Contribution to Jobs

2022 - 2032


new jobs

Average Annual Growth



Global Economy GDP

average annual growth rate


Above figure compares the contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP against the 2019 level. For instance, the sector’s contribution to GDP in Europe was 47.1% below the pre-pandemic level in 2020, and the gap reduced to 32.3% below 2019’s level in 2021, showing a strong rebound. It is estimated that the sector’s performance in Europe could surpass 2019’s level in 2024 when Travel & Tourism contribution to the region’s GDP could reach 4.1% above the pre-pandemic amount. Asia-Pacific is forecasted to be the first region to revert to the 2019 scenario (in 2023), while all the other regions are estimated to recover completely in 2024.

In 2022, as travellers’ confidence improves, the global Travel & Tourism sector is estimated to hasten its pace of recovery to 43.7% compared to 2021 and add a further 10 million jobs – shown in Figure 8. The sector is likely to return to pre-pandemic levels around the end of 2023 and the preliminary data for the first half of 2022 supports this forecast.

Looking at a longer-term forecast, between 2022 and 2032, Travel & Tourism’s contribution to the global economy is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.8% which is more than double the 2.7% average annual growth rate estimated for the global economy. In that same period, the sector is forecasted to generate 126 million additional jobs. Below figure shows that many of these new jobs will be concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region (64.8%) in general, and China (25.5%) and India (20.4%) in particular.

Travel & Tourism GDP for 2020-2025 Forecast (% below 2019 level)

Travel & Tourism Forecast - 2022 to 2032

Where will 126 million new jobs between 2022 and 2032 be created?

While projections are positive overall, there are some downside risks to recovery. This includes the negative impacts of the conflict in Ukraine, including supply chain disruptions and rising energy prices which have increased inflationary pressures, in turn reducing disposable incomes in important source markets. In addition, the effects of airspace restrictions and rising oil prices could feed into transport ticket prices, thereby making travel costlier.

Moreover, staff shortages have been identified as one of the key challenges for Travel & Tourism on its path to recovery from COVID-19. Countries across the world have been hard-hit by the pandemic, with 2020 and the first half of 2021 being characterised by extended periods of lockdowns and severe travel restrictions. While 62 million Travel & Tourism jobs were lost in 2020, the proactive action of some governments around the world has effectively enabled the sector to save millions of jobs and livelihoods at risk through retention schemes.

Staff shortages has been identified as one of the key issues for Travel & Tourism on its path to recovery from COVID-19; hence the critical need to address this issue. As demand for travel and jobs starts to rise, a sufficient labour force is required to fill the available vacancies and enable the sector to recover. A combination of factors such as workers calling in sick from COVID-19, the sluggish pace of rehiring displaced workers, and the movement of workers to other sectors has resulted in a disequilibrium between the demand for, and supply of, labour. Another key contributing factor is that travel restrictions during the pandemic have led to a fall in the number of migrant workers who are vital to the sector. As a result, Travel & Tourism businesses are struggling to fill available job vacancies.

Global Travel Trends

As travel continues to recover, this report looks at the motivations and considerations of travelers in Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, the UK and the US as well as trends shaping the future of travel.


Traveling SOLO

Statistics show that the number of people traveling solo increased by 42% even before the pandemic.

Solo travelers are big on social media too.

#solotravel hashtag is used on Instagram over 7 million as of now...


Family Get-together

After 2 years of on-and-off quarantine, and having to delay or cancel major milestones such as birthdays, weddings and graduations, many are anxious to reconnect with extended family now. 

Visiting family & friends for occasions.

Travelers plan to travel more with family in 2022 than they did previously.


Purpose driven travel

Experience local culture, Safari, The wilderness, Volcanic ranges and rugged islands, etc. are now becoming driving force for travel. 

"Experience local" is now trending

People no longer want boring and conventional travel concept.


Business & Leisure

The latest statistics say there are nearly 5 million digital nomads in America alone.

Bleisure Travel

Aruba is looking to attract digital nomads. Visitors can stay for up to 90 days without any governmental documentation.


Wellness travel

Wellness and well-being are no longer being looked at as an indulgence and are instead considered responsible investments and priority components of people's daily routines.

Travelers are more health conscious now

Today's wellness isn't limited to yoga, spa treatments and health-focused menus. One interesting trend within the larger wellness travel category is couple therapy and intimacy retreats.