Good news: It’s raining jobs in travel and tourism after lull due to pandemic

Travel & Tourism is back on its feet and set to exceed 2019 

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2023 Economic Impact Research (EIR) recently revealed the UK Travel & Tourism sector is forecast to exceed the 2019 peak this year. 

The sector is set to contribute £252.4 bn to the UK economy this year, surpassing the 2019 pre-pandemic high of £248.5BN. 

WTTC is also forecasting that the sector will create almost 380,000 jobs this year, recovering almost all of the jobs lost due to the COVID 19 pandemic to reach more than 4MN, with around one in nine workers in the UK, in the Travel & Tourism sector.

 International visitor spend to the UK is forecast to reach £26.18BN, just 6% behind the 2019 peak of £38.6BN. 

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Travel & Tourism creates one in every ten jobs in the UK. It contributes over £250bn a year to the UK economy. “Whilst our forecasts show the sector will reach a quarter of a trillion pounds this year, and predicts international visitor spend will recover by early next year, the UK Government should be aiming higher. 

“The recovery and long-term growth of the sector is at risk with the self-axing of VAT-free shopping for international tourists. We will continue to see high-value tourists choosing France and Italy over the UK and taking with them economic value and jobs.” 

What does the next decade look like? The global tourism body is forecasting that the sector will grow its GDP contribution to almost £315BN by 2033, nearly 11% of the UK economy and will employ over 5MN people across the country, with one in seven Brits working in the sector. 

Europe:  In 2022, the European Travel & Tourism sector contributed €1.9TN to the regional economy, just 7% below the 2019 peak. WTTC forecasts the region’s GDP contribution from the sector will reach more than €2TN in 2023 – within touching distance of the 2019 highpoint. The sector employed almost 35MN people across the region in 2022, an increase of 2.9MN from the previous year but still 3.2MN behind pre-pandemic levels. 

WTTC forecasts the sector will fully recover the jobs lost during the pandemic by the end of 2024. 

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