scorecardWorldwide tourism and its contribution to global GDP to return to pre-COVID levels this year: WEF study
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Worldwide tourism and its contribution to global GDP to return to pre-COVID levels this year: WEF study

Worldwide tourism and its contribution to global GDP to return to pre-COVID levels this year: WEF study
TravelTravel3 min read
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New York [US], May 21 (ANI): International tourist arrivals and the travel and tourism sector's contribution to global GDP are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this year, driven by the complete lifting of COVID-19-related travel restrictions and strong pent-up demand, as per the new World Economic Forum travel and tourism study, released on Tuesday.

Topping the 2024 list of economies are the US, Spain, Japan, France and Australia. The Middle East had the highest recovery rates in international tourist arrivals - 20 per cent above the 2019 level, while Europe, Africa and the US all showed a strong recovery of around 90 per cent in 2023.

Travel and Tourism Development Index 2024 (TTDI), a biennial report published in collaboration with the University of Surrey, analysed the travel and tourism sectors of 119 countries around a range of factors and policies.

"This year marks a turning point for the travel and tourism sector, which we know has the capacity to unlock growth and serve communities through economic and social transformation," said Francisco Betti, Head of the Global Industries team at the World Economic Forum.

"The report offers a forward-looking window into the current and future state of travel and tourism for leaders to navigate the latest trends in this complex sector and sustainably unlock its potential for communities and countries across the world."

The global tourism industry is expected to recover from the lows of the COVID-19 pandemic and surpass the levels seen before the crisis.

As per the report, this is largely being driven by a significant increase in demand worldwide, which has coincided with more available flights, better international openness, and increased interest and investment in natural and cultural attractions.

However, the report painted that the global recovery has been mixed. While 71 of the 119 ranked economies increased their index scores since 2019.

Although the sector has moved past the shock of the global health crisis, it continues to deal with other external challenges, from growing macroeconomic, geopolitical and environmental risks, to increased scrutiny of its sustainability practices.

In addition, labour shortages are ongoing, and air route capacity, capital investment, productivity and other sector supply factors have not kept up with the increase in demand. This imbalance, worsened by global inflation, has increased prices and service issues.

Out of the top 30 index scorers in 2024, 26 are high-income economies, 19 are based in Europe, seven are in Asia-Pacific, three are in the Americas and one (the United Arab Emirates) is in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). The top 10 countries in the 2024 edition are the United States, Spain, Japan, France, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Italy and Switzerland.

The results highlight that high-income economies generally continue to have more favourable conditions for travel and tourism development. This is helped by conducive business environments, dynamic labour markets, open travel policies, strong transport and tourism infrastructure, and well-developed natural, cultural and non-leisure attractions.

"It's essential to bridge the divide between differing economies' ability to build a strong environment for their travel and tourism sector to thrive," said Iis Tussyadiah, Professor and Head of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey.

"The sector has big potential to foster prosperity and mitigate global risks, but that potential can only be fully realized through a strategic and inclusive approach."

If managed strategically, the travel and tourism sector - which has historically represented 10 per cent of global GDP and employment - has the potential to emerge as a key contributor to growth, it said. (ANI)

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