Travel and tourism industry still facing hurdles to fully recover from COVID-19 crisis

The global travel and tourism industry is recovering but still facing hurdles including uneven vaccine distribution, capacity constraints, labour shortages, and supply chain disruption

Global travel and tourism industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The travel restrictions imposed to contain COVID-19 spread severely affected the growth of travel and tourism sector. The industry is slowly recovering despite facing hurdles.

The global travel and tourism sectors are projected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 and grow at a rate that will outpace global gross domestic product (GDP) growth, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said on Thursday.

Most countries have already lifted the travel restrictions as COVID-19 cases decreased globally. The health restrictions are lifted, and growing demand for domestic and nature-based tourism increases. However, overall international tourism and business travel remain below pre-pandemic levels.

As the sector recovers, it will be important to take steps that embed long-term inclusivity, sustainability, and resilience as it continues to face evolving challenges and risks. “Covid shutdowns have re-emphasised the important contribution that the travel and tourism industry makes to many economies around the world,” said Lauren Uppink, the head of aviation, travel, and tourism at the World Economic Forum.

 “As the world emerges from the pandemic, economies must invest in building a strong and resilient environment to deliver the travel and tourism experience and services for many decades to come.”

Despite positive trends, the travel and tourism sector is still facing many hurdles with its recovery. This includes uneven vaccine distribution, capacity constraints, labour shortages, supply chain disruptions, and more.

In its latest travel and tourism study, the World Economic Forum revealed that the sector is showing signs of recovery in many parts of the world after being hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the UNWTO, the difference in international tourist arrivals between just January 2021 and January 2022 is greater than arrivals growth in all of 2021.

“Government, business and civil society leaders can address barriers to recovery by looking at the different factors that can support the long-term development and resiliency of their respective travel and tourism economies,” added Uppink.

“This will require decision-makers to restore consumer confidence and international openness by prioritising such things as enhanced health and security measures, encouraging inclusive labour practices, improving environmental sustainability, and investing in digital technology.”

The industry is expected to post an annual average growth rate of 5.8% from 2022 to 2032 versus the 2.7% increase in global GDP, and create 126 million new jobs, WTTC said in a report released during the industry group's conference in Manila.

In 2019, tourism accounted for a tenth of global GDP and jobs but the coronavirus pandemic decimated the $9.6 trillion industry, halving its output value and leaving 62 million people jobless.

"The recovery is going to be so stellar that it's going to recover really powerfully. This does depend of course on China reopening," said WTTC President Julia Simpson, calling on all governments to reopen borders.

China's "zero COVID" policy and persistent lockdowns have disrupted global trade and domestic and international travel. The travel and tourism industry's GDP is seen hitting $8.35 trillion this year and $9.6 trillion in 2023, a return to its pre-pandemic level.

Tourism jobs are projected to recover to 300 million this year and 324 million in 2023, close to the 333 million seen in 2019, WTTC said. In Asia-Pacific alone, the hospitality industry's GDP will likely hit $3.4 trillion in 2023, already above the $3.3 trillion it saw in 2019, it said.

                                                                 Rukhsana Manzoor Deputy Editor


No comments

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Powered by Blogger.