- There was a resurgence of investment in the global travel and tourism sector in 2022, up 11.1% to $856 billion from the previous year, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Economic Impact 2023 Global Trends Report. The U.S. led the top 10 markets in terms of absolute investment in the sector in 2022, spending $213 billion.
- Also in 2022, the GDP contribution of the U.S. travel and tourism sector grew by 16.9%, reaching $2 trillion, and the sector created 2.7 million more jobs compared to 2021, the report found.
- The WTTC forecasts “robust” growth in investment in the global travel and tourism sector in 2023 as well as jobs and GDP contribution growth in the U.S. Some economic factors and domestic labor challenges, though, could impact the predicted rate of growth.
Strong global investment and domestic GDP and jobs growth is fueled by several years of pent-up demand to travel, according to the WTTC. The U.S. travel and tourism sector, particularly, benefited from a strong resurgence in international visitors, whose spending increased by more than 150% year over year, to reach $115.7 billion, in 2022.
The WTTC forecasts the U.S. travel and tourism sector’s GDP contribution will grow to $2.2 trillion in 2023 and job numbers will total 17.4 million.
On a global scale, WTTC expects investment in travel and tourism to increase in the years ahead, seeing 11.5% growth in investment in 2023, reaching $955 billion; a return to pre-pandemic investment levels is anticipated by 2025.
Investment growth for travel and tourism globally, though, could be impacted by central banks’ hike in interest rates to combat rising inflations.
“Higher interest rates could present a risk to future investment in the sector so it’s crucial that the public and private sectors work together to innovate to ensure the continual strengthening of this vital sector,” the WTTC said in a release.
Domestically, ongoing labor disputes over unfair wages and working conditions at hotels could pose a threat to jobs growth in the travel and tourism sector. In Southern California, hundreds of union workers are taking part in the region’s largest multihotel strike in history. And hotel workers in Arizona, though not on strike, also took to picketing for better wages earlier this month.
Despite jobs growth across the U.S. travel and tourism at large, some 82% of hotels still reported staffing shortages as of June of this year.