US remains the largest travel market in the world

The United States continues to be the largest and most influential travel and tourism market in the world, according to the most recent World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Economic Trends Report. Despite extensive and harmful travel restrictions that did little to stop the spread of COVID-19 and instead only caused significant economic losses, its top ranking was confirmed.

“Our research demonstrates the resilience of the travel and tourism sector, despite the impact of travel restrictions around the world that failed to stop the virus’ spread,” said Julia Simpson, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Despite a difficult macro climate, the travel and tourism industry has recovered. With a few exceptions, travel is once more commonplace. Additionally, corporate travel is experiencing a resurgence. The growth of travel and tourism will exceed that of the global economy over the following ten years.

Despite maintaining the top spot, the U.S. travel and tourism industry’s economic contribution to the country’s GDP decreased by USD 700 billion in 2019 to just under USD 1.3 trillion. According to research conducted by Oxford Economics for WTTC, the top three nations remain China, Germany, and the United States, in that order. The rankings, however, are fictitious because domestic travel increased in the top economies while it decreased in the worst economies.

In the U.S., International traveller spend rankings saw it toppled from its pre-pandemic top position.But despite the challenges of the past two years, the new report from the global tourism body shows business travel is on the road to recovery.

WTTC’s data reveals that in terms of the Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to GDP, China held onto its second position, with more than USD 814 billion, while Germany remained the third biggest Travel & Tourism sector in the world, contributing USD 251 billion to the German economy.

The UK slipped dramatically from fifth place in 2019 to ninth in 2021, with a contribution of just over USD 157 billion, the biggest faller of the top 10 countries. In terms of international traveller spend, France, which before the pandemic struck was in fourth place, overtook Spain, China, and the U.S. to grab first place. China, which remains closed to much of the rest of the world, was in second place before the pandemic, but fell dramatically to 11th position in 2021.

Major Travel & Tourism markets in Asia Pacific had significant drops in foreign spending, which caused Thailand and Japan—which were ranked fifth and eighth, respectively, before the pandemic—to drop completely out of the top 20 in 2021.

The WTTC forecasts that this year’s global business travel will increase by more than 41%. In the Asia-Pacific area, business travel may recover more quickly during the next ten years, rising an average of 5.5% yearly.

China may surpass the United States to overtake it as the largest travel and tourism market in the world by 2032, according to WTTC. According to the report, China’s Travel & Tourism business might contribute USD 3.9 trillion to GDP by 2032, making it the largest Travel & Tourism market in the world, and India could pass Germany to take third place with a predicted value of USD 457 billion.