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Global travel industry predicted to soar in 2024, surpassing $11 trillion

The report predicts that 142 out of 185 analyzed countries will break their own national tourism revenue records.

Global travel industry predicted to soar in 2024, surpassing $11 trillion
[Source photo: Krishna Prasad/Fast Company Middle East]

In 2024, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) anticipates a significant year for the travel industry, with its economic impact projected to soar to an impressive $11.1 trillion – a new global record. This highlights the pivotal role of travel and tourism in fostering global economic growth, creating jobs, and enhancing international connectivity.

This marks a significant leap from 2023, when the industry had already surpassed its pre-pandemic peak, generating nearly $10 trillion.

The WTTC’s 2024 Economic Impact Research, conducted in collaboration with Oxford Economics, paints an optimistic picture. The report predicts the industry will exceed its previous record by $770 billion and propel 142 out of 185 analyzed countries to break their national tourism revenue records.

A resurgence in both domestic and international travel is driving this strong growth. International visitor spending is projected to reach its 2019 peak of $1.89 trillion, while domestic tourism spending surpasses previous records, reaching a staggering $5.4 trillion.

This surge translates to millions of jobs created and supported by the industry. The WTTC report reveals a sector brimming with potential, employing nearly 348 million people globally – a remarkable increase of over 13.6 million jobs since 2019.

Despite ongoing economic and geopolitical challenges, the travel industry has shown remarkable resilience. In 2023, the sector experienced significant recovery, with international spending increasing by a third to $1.63 trillion and domestic spending jumping by over 18% to nearly $5 trillion.

This positive trend is particularly evident in the Middle East, which led to the global recovery in 2023. According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, tourist arrivals in the region exceeded pre-pandemic levels by 22%.

Saudi Arabia stands out as a key player in this region, with foreign visitors’ spending in the Kingdom reaching a record high last year, totaling $36 billion. This marks the highest expenditure by foreign visitors in the Kingdom’s history, representing a notable increase of 42.8 percent compared to 2022.

Looking ahead, the WTTC predicts a bright future for travel and tourism. By 2034, the sector’s contribution to the global economy is expected to reach an impressive $16 trillion, representing 11.4% of total economic output. This growth will be accompanied by a significant rise in employment opportunities, with the industry projected to support a staggering 449 million jobs worldwide by 2034.

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