2022: international tourism ready to take off
While the industry has welcomed the easing announcements, although there are concerns that the recovery of the sector could be asymmetric
According to a WTTC forecast, in 2022 the contribution of tourism to the global economy could experience a year-on-year increase of 34%, reaching USD 8.6 trillion. Similarly, jobs could exceed 2019 levels - a 20.1% year-on-year increase, to more than 349 million. So far everything looks great, but sadly the sector is not the same as before the pandemic, that is, the decisions made by each of the states could affect a symmetrical recovery.
While there have always been destinations and even regions stronger than others, Covid-19 and its health crisis have caused a cataract of restrictions that in some cases still continue to widen that gap.
The easing measures announced in recent days by various governments have been well received in the tourism industry, but the lack of coordination and consensus on the forms is worrisome. One of the most questioned measures has been the discretionary admission of foreign tourists according to the type of vaccine that has been applied. At the moment, everything aims to take into account the formulas approved by the WHO, leaving aside reciprocity between countries. According to the WTTC, this situation is affecting the generation of demand for international travel.
Julia Simpson, President and CEO of WTTC, said that While the sector is beginning to recover from the ravages of COVID-19, there are still too many restrictions. The official remarked that through greater flexibility, almost 19 million jobs could be recovered before the end of the year.
The aviation industry has also emphasized this situation. Luis Felipe de Oliveira, CEO of Airports Council International has asked states for vaccine equity, unified testing requirements, and support for a pragmatic, risk-based recovery approach.
"We need governments to remove some of the travel restrictions they imposed and harmonize the health protocol measures. Once this is done, the recovery will be strong," said Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue and Chairman of the IATA Board.
UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “It is clear that there is a strong demand for international tourism, and many destinations have started to welcome visitors safely and responsibly. However, the true restart of tourism and the benefits it brings remain on hold, as inconsistent rules and regulations and uneven vaccination rates continue to affect travel confidence".