The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) revealed today that Orlando is projected to be the largest travel and tourism city destination in the US at 2019 levels at $2.7 billion.
The Cities Economic Impact Report, sponsored by Visa and researched in partnership with Oxford Economics, analyzed key travel and tourism metrics in 82 cities around the world, including contribution to GDP, employment and traveler spending.
The report studied the impact of the sector in Orlando, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Los Angeles and Honolulu.
Las Vegas followed Orlando as the second largest travel and tourism market in the US with a direct contribution to GDP of $23 billion last year, outperforming the 2019 baseline by 5.3%.
Miami made the list of top destinations for cities with a heroic GDP return last year of $11.1 billion that exceeded pre-pandemic contributions by 5% despite a devastating 56% drop in contribution. economy of the sector in 2020.
New York City and Los Angeles also topped the US rankings for 2022 with travel and tourism GDP valued at $21.1 billion and $11 billion respectively, showing strong signs of closing the gap to 2019 levels.
“It was a year of struggle for cities across the country in 2022. Destinations like Orlando, Miami, Chicago and Las Vegas are back stronger than ever thanks to the easing of pandemic restrictions and a strong rebound in confidence. of the consumer”. said Julia Simpson, President and CEO of WTTC.
“Other popular vacation destinations like San Francisco, Honolulu and Washington DC are following suit with growing contributions to GDP from the sector that are on track to recover from pandemic lows as they increase their industry workforce and farm a thriving international traveler base.”
Domestic travelers dominate visitor spending in major US urban destinations.
In 2019, domestic travelers accounted for 84.6% of travel and tourism spending in the US; that number rose to more than 95% in 2021. Travel hubs like Orlando, Miami and Las Vegas continued to benefit from strong domestic spending last year to beat 2019 marks by 19% on average.
In Washington DC, domestic visitors contributed $5.27 billion to the local economy in 2022, 85% of pre-pandemic revenue. Honolulu and San Francisco were not far behind, with spending reaching $4.7 billion and $3.41 billion, respectively.
Despite a strong domestic traveler market, the pressure created by the slower-than-expected return of international traveler spending in the US continued to create a performance gap in the overall economic recovery of many urban destinations last year. past. Combined international visitor spending in the nine US cities analyzed was 35% below 2019 levels.
Orlando was the only major city destination to maintain its industry lead with international visitors, outpacing 2019 spending by nearly 20% in 2022.
Positive Trends for Travel & Tourism Employment in 2022
New York City Travel & Tourism's direct contribution to jobs grew nearly 32% between 2020 and 2022, representing an increase of more than 59,200 filled positions.
Las Vegas showed equally impressive year-over-year employment gains, surpassing a record low of 163,800 jobs in 2020 to complete 2022 with more than 206,000 industry positions.
While travel and tourism employment in major city destinations continues to rise after the devastating loss of thousands of industry jobs across the country in 2020, many major markets are still struggling to meet or exceed 2019 employment levels despite positive macro-GDP growth.
In 2022, Chicago was the only major city destination with a direct contribution of travel and tourism jobs exceeding 2019 employment levels, reaching 178,200 jobs last year (an increase of more than 20,000 from 2019).
The travel and tourism industry has overcome significant long-term hurdles and is poised to emerge even stronger in 2023 as a critical driver of economic prosperity. By fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors to reintegrate the workforce and attract new talent that meets consumer demand while encouraging open borders, the industry can continue to meet and exceed record economic growth.