More than 100 million jobs could return to the global travel and tourism sector during 2021, as the world recovers from the crippling COVID-19 pandemic, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
A strong summer of travel is expected as the sector begins its road to recovery from late March onwards, with many major travel companies reporting a significant rise in forward bookings.
WTTC had warned 174 million global travel and tourism jobs were at risk. However, in its latest analysis, WTTC’s most optimistic scenario predicts as many as 111 million jobs could be revived – but this would still be 17% below 2019 figures, accounting for 54 million fewer jobs.
Widespread vaccination programs and a swift adoption of comprehensive test-and-trace regimes, together with continual, strong international coordination from the private and public sectors, are key to recovery.
However, the forecast’s more conservative outcome would still see a return of 84 million jobs, but this would be 25 percent below 2019 levels, with 82 million fewer jobs.
Under this scenario, the recovery of international travel is pushed to the second half of 2021. Vaccines would be rolled out more gradually, slowing down the removal of worldwide travel barriers and restrictions currently in place, while depressing demand to travel and reducing consumer confidence.
The new research revealed that in the best-case scenario, travel and tourism’s contribution to global GDP will fall 17 percent compared to 2019 figures, to USD 7.4 trillion. WTTC believes this is achievable with testing on departure, mandatory mask wearing and the worldwide implementation of vaccination programs.
And in the more conservative outcome, with a slower recovery, the sector’s contribution will drop by more than one quarter (27 percent), to USD 6.5 trillion.
WTTC believes these latest predictions outline the significant challenges faced by the global sector as it prepares for its recovery in the months ahead once the impact of worldwide rollout of vaccination programs is felt and travel restrictions are eased.