HP News Desk
Despite suffering from long and damaging travel restrictions that have done little to stop the spread of Covid-19 and led to economic losses, the United States remains the largest and strongest travel and tourism market in the world, according to a report.
While maintaining its number one position, the U.S. travel and tourism sector’s contribution to the country’s economy fell from $700 billion in 2019 to nearly $1.3 trillion last year, according to the latest World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Economic Trends Report.
Oxford Economics research for WTTC shows there was no change in the top 3 countries – with China second and Germany third.
But the ranking is illusory as major economies increased their number of domestic trips while the number of international visitors fell.
In the United States, it has been knocked down from its pre-pandemic top spot in the ranking of international traveler spending. But despite the challenges of the past two years, the new report from the global tourism organization shows that business travel is on the road to recovery.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO, said: “Our report demonstrates the resilience of the travel and tourism industry, despite the impact of travel restrictions around the world that have failed to stop the spread of the virus.
“Despite a challenging macro environment, Travel & Tourism has bounced back. The world, with some exceptions, is travelling again. And we are seeing resurgence in business travel. Over the next 10 years, Travel & Tourism growth will outstrip the global economy.”
WTTC data shows that in terms of the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to GDP, China maintained its second place with over US$814 billion, while Germany remained the world’s third largest travel sector.
The UK fell from fifth place in 2019 to ninth place in 2021 with a contribution of just over $157 billion, the biggest loser of the top 10 countries. In terms of spending by international travelers, France, which ranked fourth before the outbreak of the pandemic, overtook Spain, China and the United States to take the top spot.
China, which remains closed to much of the rest of the world, was in second place before the pandemic but has fallen dramatically to 11th place in 2021.
In Asia-Pacific, major travel and tourism markets such as Thailand and Japan saw huge declines in international spending, causing the two markets – ranked fifth and eighth respectively before the pandemic – to drop out. According to WTTC forecasts, global business travel is expected to grow more than 41% this year.
The WTTC predicts that by 2032 China could overtake the United States to become the largest travel and tourism market in the world.
Research shows that China’s tourism and travel sector contribution to GDP could reach $ 3.9 trillion by 2032, making it the most powerful travel and tourism market in the world, and India could overtake Germany to be the third place with an estimated value of $ 457 billion.