Domestic travel helped U.S. retain its position as the world’s biggest Travel & Tourism market, despite lengthy travel restrictions for international visitors


China and Germany hold onto second and third position while UK sees significant drop in the global Travel & Tourism GDP rankings, falling four slots to ninth place in 2021

Global business travel outlook is positive

LONDON, Sept. 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The latest World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Economic Trends Report ranks the U.S. as the world’s biggest and most powerful Travel & Tourism market by GDP contribution. But the rankings are illusionary as the U.S., like other top economies, bolstered its numbers through domestic travel, while international visitor numbers plummeted.

While its number one position was retained, the U.S. Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to the nation’s economy fell by $700 billion in 2019, to just under $1.3 trillion last year. Long and damaging travel restrictions, which did little to halt the spread of COVID-19, resulted in serious economic and employment losses.

Behind the U.S., research by Oxford Economics for WTTC saw China second and Germany third for sector GDP contributions, representing no change in ranking since 2019. However, total sector economic contribution in both countries declined versus 2019.

China contributed more than $814 billion last year to the Chinese GDP (vs. $1.857 billion in 2019), while Germany’s contributions to its economy were $251 billion compared with over $391 billion in 2019.

Meanwhile, the UK slipped dramatically from fifth place in 2019 to ninth in 2021, with a contribution of just over $157 billionthe biggest fall among the top 10 countries in the study.

But the rankings are illusionary as the top economies bolstered their numbers through domestic travel, while international visitor numbers plummeted.

Julia SimpsonWTTC President & CEO, said: “Our report shows the resilience of the Travel & Tourism sector, even in the face of travel restrictions around the world which failed to halt the spread of the virus.

“Despite a challenging macro environment, Travel & Tourism has bounced back. The world, with some exceptions, is traveling again. And we are seeing a resurgence in business travel. Over the next 10 years, Travel & Tourism growth will outstrip the overall growth rate of the global economy.”

International Visitor Spending Drove Gains and Losses
In terms of international traveler spend, Francewhich was ranked fourth before the pandemic, overtook Spain, Chinaand the U.S. to grab first place.

Chinawhich remains closed to much of the rest of the world, was in second place for international visitor spending before the pandemic but fell dramatically to 11th position in 2021.

Across Asia-Pacificmajor Travel & Tourism markets saw huge losses in international spending. China was in second place for international visitor spending before the pandemic but fell dramatically to 11th position in 2021.

Countries like Thailand and Japanwhich ranked fifth and eighth in international visitor spending before the pandemic, fell out of the top 20 altogether in 2021.

Business Travel and China Growth Outlook is Positive
According to WTTC’s predictions, worldwide business travel is expected to grow more than 41% this year. For the next 10 years, it predicts business travel could grow an average of 5.5% annually and may return faster in the Asia-Pacific region.

WTTC predicts by 2032, China will overtake the U.S. to become the world’s biggest Travel & Tourism market.

The research shows China’s Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to GDP could reach $3.9 trillion by 2032, making it the world’s most powerful Travel & Tourism market, and India could leapfrog Germany to reach third place with a projected value of $457 billion.

About the World Travel & Tourism Council

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) represents the global travel & tourism private sector. Members include 200 CEOs, Chairs and Presidents of the world’s leading travel & tourism companies from all geographies covering all industries. For more than 30 years, WTTC has been committed to raising the awareness of governments and the public of the economic and social significance of the travel & tourism sector.

SOURCE World Travel & Tourism Council



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