Tourism set to break all records: WTTC

Julia Simpson

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has projected a record-breaking year for travel and tourism in 2024, with the sector’s global economic contribution set to reach an all-time high of $11.1 trillion.

According to the global tourism body’s 2024 Economic Impact Research (EIR), travel and tourism will contribute an additional $770 billion over its previous record, stamping its authority as a global economic powerhouse, generating one in every $10 worldwide.

As the global sector soars past its pre-pandemic prosperity, WTTC expects 142 countries of 185 analysed will be outperforming previous national records.

In partnership with Oxford Economic, WTTC’s latest EIR showcases a sector brimming with opportunities, underpinning almost 348 million jobs globally. This represents an increase of more than 13.6 million jobs compared to its highest point in 2019.

International visitor spending is expected to come within touching distance of the 2019 peak, to reach $1.89 trillion, while domestic tourists are forecast to spend more than in any year on record to hit $5.4 trillion.


The US and China will continue to suffer whilst other countries are seeing international visitors return much faster
– Julia Simpson



Despite economic uncertainties and geopolitical shake-ups, the travel and tourism sector is thriving. With an economic injection of nearly $10 trillion, the sector matched its pre-pandemic zenith, flexing its resilience and proving its critical role in the global economy.

Representing 9.1% of global GDP at just over $9.9 trillion in 2023, travel and tourism’s financial footprint was the largest it’s been since the golden year of travel in 2019, trailing its peak by a mere 4%.

The sector also bolstered its workforce by an additional 27.4 million, propelling the total to nearly 330mn jobs worldwide.

This growth comes despite two of the world’s biggest tourism markets lagging in terms of international visitor spend, with both the US and China seeing a far slower return of international tourist spend.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Against the backdrop of uncertainty, the travel and tourism sector remains a global economic powerhouse.

“This isn’t just about breaking records, we’re no longer talking about a recovery – this is a story of the sector back at its best after a difficult few years, providing a significant economic boost to countries around the world and supporting millions of jobs,” noted Simpson.

“There’s a risk however, we need the US and Chinese governments to support their national travel and tourism sectors. The US and China will continue to suffer whilst other countries are seeing international visitors return much faster,” she said.