A new report shows the Asia-Pacific travel industry may be the only one in the world to recover by 2023.
This year’s Travel & Tourism Economic Impact report — an annual publication from the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council — shows that in 2020, tourism revenue fell more in Asia-Pacific (59%) than anywhere before the pandemic different.
Reconstruction efforts in the region have been muted in 2021 as most countries there maintained tight border restrictions. Tourism revenue’s contribution to regional gross domestic product increased by about 16%, less than the 28% in Europe and 23% in North America.
However, the report shows that Asia-Pacific is expected to close the gap this year, with the amount of travel revenue contributing to the overall economy expected to grow by 71%.
Asia-Pacific travel is soaring this year – restrictions were eased first in India and Australia, then in Malaysia and Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, most recently followed by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in the north.
The 10 year forecast
The WTTC report expects further gains for the Asia-Pacific travel industry in 2023, followed by another year of positive growth in 2024.
It is estimated that by 2025, travel revenue will contribute 32% more to the region’s GDP than before the pandemic – a figure that far exceeds that of all other regions except the Middle East (30%).
The report estimates the global economy will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.7% from 2022 to 2032. Still, tourism’s contribution to the global economy is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 5.8% over the same period, according to the report.
In Asia-Pacific, the numbers are rising even higher, with tourism’s contribution to GDP expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 8.5%, according to the WTTC.
Where travel jobs will be
The WTTC predicts that the global travel industry will create 126 million new jobs over the next decade. About 65% of this is said to be in the Asia-Pacific region.
According to the WTTC, almost half of the new jobs are expected to be created in China and India.
Forecast of WTTC job creation between 2022 and 2032, by country
Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are also expected to see significant tourism employment growth over the next decade, adding 5.3 million, 3.5 million and 3.15 million new jobs, respectively.
The China problem
To stem recent spikes in cases, officials have closed entertainment venues in Shanghai and schools in the central Chinese city of Xi’an, placing millions of their citizens under new lockdowns.