A recent study by the (WTTC) reveals the U.S. travel and tourism sector is significantly outperforming the global tourism rebound in 2021 and will continue to do so in 2022.
“Our research shows that while the global travel [and] tourism sector is slowly beginning to recover, the U.S. is recovering faster than many other regions,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO.
The forecast for 2022 is even more promising, with a predicted increase of 28.4%, resulting in a $2 trillion contribution to the US economy, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
In 2019, the travel industry in the U.S. contributed almost $1.9 trillion to GDP (8.6 percent of the U.S. economy).
In 2020, when the U.S. barred more than 33 nations from entering the territory, the contribution to the sector plummeted to just $1.1 trillion (5.3% of the U.S. economy).
With the reopening to fully vaccinated travelers from Europe and Asia on Nov. 8, it is expected that foreign travel spending will increase by approximately 228 percent in the U.S. next year.
“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,” Simpson said.
“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.”
If the world has learned one single thing about the pandemic is that this is unpredictable. Only a year ago, the development and efficient delivery of a vaccine was thought to be enough to put an end to the pandemic.
Now, with highly vaccinated countries reintroducing COVID-19 restrictions, the path to tourism recovery does not look that clear.
Anticipating potential future issues, the WTTC recommends a set of steps that governments can take to ensure a steady recovery.
These include allowing fully vaccinated people to fly freely regardless of their origin or destination; implementing digital solutions to speed customs and boarding processes, and continuing to adopt improved health and safety protocols to boost consumer confidence.