U.S. International Visits Lag: WTTC Reports

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The latest Economic Impact Report (EIR) from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global travel and tourism private sector, reveals that the U.S. travel and tourism  is projected to contribute over $2.6 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) to the U.S. economy over the next decade.

By 2032, the U.S. travel and tourism is expected to make up 9.2% of the entire U.S. economy based on an average annual growth rate of 3.9% – nearly double the anticipated 2% growth rate of the U.S. economy overall.

“The long-term recovery of the U.S. travel and tourism  looks positive, bringing more than 6 million new jobs to the U.S. economy over the next 10 years,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO. “But the landscape is highly competitive, and the U.S. is losing out on international visitors.” 

Simpson continued: “Full recovery of travel and tourism relies on a significant rebound of international travel. While the new National Travel and Tourism Strategy is a step in the right direction, 2021 was another difficult year for the U.S. economy and the millions of livelihoods who rely on it.  In many countries’ travel & tourism  is bouncing back to pre-pandemic numbers next year, but the U.S. is not expected to recover until 2025.”

According to the forecast, produced in partnership with Oxford Economics, between 2022 and 2032, jobs in the U.S. travel and tourism could grow at an average rate of 3.9% annually, representing a 47% increase from 2022 expected job levels.

Despite strong projected growth in employment and GDP contribution over the next 10 years, WTTC’s data indicates that pressure created by slow international traveler spending in the U.S. will continue to drive a significant performance gap in the ’s recovery this year.

In 2021, international visitor spending grew a modest 1.4%, reaching $40.3 billion but falling far short of 2019’s total of $190.9 billion.

While the global tourism body welcomes the new National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which aims to ensure the future growth of Travel & Tourism in the U.S. and create new jobs, WTTC says only immediate action now can secure the long-term recovery of the  and create more than 6.3 million jobs over the next decade.

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