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EconomyTourism in 2023, A Year of Recovery and Growth

Tourism in 2023, A Year of Recovery and Growth

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Tourism in 2023 is expected to be a year of recovery and growth for the sector, as international travel gradually resumes and domestic demand rebounds.

The global travel and tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with unprecedented losses in revenue, jobs and visitors.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), global tourism arrivals will increase by 30% in 2023, following growth of 60% in 2022, but will remain below pre-pandemic levels1. The economic downturn, sanctions on Russia, and China’s zero-covid strategy will delay recovery. However, the industry is projected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 and grow at a rate that will outpace global gross domestic product (GDP) growth1. 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 jobs1.

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 level2. Tourism jobs are projected to recover to 300 million this year and 324 million in 2023, close to the 333 million seen in 20192. The recovery will be led by business and leisure travelers to and from China, which is expected to reopen its borders in late 2022 or early 20231. U.S. domestic leisure travel is also back, and business travel will soon follow1. U.S. international travel is coming back too, especially to Europe and the Middle East1.

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 20191. Compared with North America and Europe, travel has trailed in Asia-Pacific because of strict border restrictions in many countries. However, some regions are seeing signs of recovery, such as Southeast Asia, where travelers are getting back on planes as entry and COVID-19 quarantine rules are lifted2International tourist arrivals are recovering fastest in the Middle East and Europe3.

The pandemic has also changed some aspects of travel behavior and preferences. Travelers are more conscious of health and safety measures, environmental impact and social responsibility. They are also more flexible, digital and experiential. The industry has adapted to these changes by offering more contactless services, sustainable practices and personalized experiences. The focus of technology innovation and investment will be on the metaverse, with the drive for standardization and the battle with web3 at the forefront1.

Tourism in 2023 will be a year of challenges and opportunities for the industry. The sector will have to overcome the uncertainties and risks posed by the pandemic, geopolitical tensions and economic slowdowns. However, it will also benefit from the pent-up demand, resilience and innovation of travelers and businesses. Tourism in 2023 will be a year of recovery and growth for one of the most vital sectors of the global economy.

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