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EU’s tourism sector on track to reach pre-Covid numbers: WTTC

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2023 Economic Impact Research, the travel and tourism sector of the European Union (EU) is expected to reach 98% of the peak seen in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. It is forecasted to contribute €1.44 billion to the EU economy this year, approaching the pre-pandemic high of €1.47 billion recorded in 2019.

WTTC also predicts that the sector will create over 687,000 jobs in 2023, recovering nearly 90% of the jobs lost during the pandemic. This would bring the total number of jobs in the EU travel and tourism sector to over 22.4 million, with approximately one in nine workers employed in the industry.

Looking back at 2022, the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to the EU’s GDP grew by 40.5% to surpass €1.37 billion, accounting for 8.7% of the bloc’s economy. This was close to the 2019 high of 9.6%. The sector also added 2 million jobs compared to the previous year, reaching a total of 21.8 million jobs in the EU, equivalent to one in ten workers.

The research indicates that the travel and tourism sector has recovered 3.1 million out of the 3.6 million jobs lost during the pandemic. In 2022, international visitor spending increased by 81% compared to the previous year, reaching nearly €385 billion. Domestic visitor spending fully recovered and surpassed the pre-pandemic high, reaching €814 billion in 2022, compared to €809 billion in 2019.

WTTC President & CEO, Julia Simpson, highlighted the strong recovery of the travel and tourism sector in the EU, driven by high visitor demand. She noted that the sector’s job creation is expected to reach nearly 22.5 million jobs by the end of 2023, just 2% below the 2019 numbers. Simpson emphasised the sector’s importance as a driver of economic growth and job creation in countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain, and France.

WTTC forecasts that by 2033, the travel and tourism sector in the EU will contribute almost €1.9 billion to the GDP, representing over 10% of the EU economy. The sector is projected to employ more than 26.3 million people, with approximately one in eight EU residents working in the travel and tourism industry.

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