US Travel & Tourism Achieved Record Highs in 2023 Despite International Challenges

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The United States Travel and Tourism Industry reached a new high in 2023, as, despite a slow return of international visitors, the sector contributed to the US economy more than ever before.

According to the latest report from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the Travel and Tourism sector added 656,000 jobs, bringing the total to 18 million across the country. This broke the previous job record of 17.4 million, VisaGuide.World reports.

The report also shows that last year, the sector’s contribution to the GDP grew by seven percent, reaching a total of $2.36 trillion. The figure surpasses the previous record by $100 billion.

US Travel & Tourism’s 9% Domestic Growth, 25% International Decline

Further data from WTTC revealed that while domestic visitor spending reached $1.37 trillion, a nine percent increase from the pre-pandemic peak in 2019, international visitor spending lagged at $156.1 billion, still 25 percent below the 2019 peak.

The US has long been a top tourist destination globally, thanks to strategic government investments.

Commenting on the growth of tourism in 2023 in the US, Julia Simpson, President & CEO of WTTC, emphasized the importance of continuing such investments to drive international travel spending and ensure economic recovery.

As she explains, in summary, the US travel and tourism sector reached unprecedented heights in 2023, providing jobs for 18 million people and boosting the economy by nearly $2.4 trillion.

The US government has supported Travel & Tourism, but international visitor spend is still below 2019 numbers. A focus on visa processing, queues at borders, and staffing would give the sector a vital lift in advance of the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics.

Julia Simpson, President & CEO of WTTC

She mentioned that the job market had bounced back from the pandemic, with Travel & Tourism jobs now making up 11.2 per cent of all jobs, totaling 18 million.

WTTC Predicts $2.5 Trillion GDP Contribution from US Travel & Tourism in 2024

Looking ahead to 2024, the World Travel & Tourism Council expects the sector to contribute over $2.5 trillion to the GDP, making up nine percent of the US economy. At the same time, they project the industry will employ 18.8 million people nationwide, meaning one in nine Americans will work in this sector.

While domestic spending by visitors is predicted to keep rising, reaching $1.43 trillion and surpassing the 2019 record by nearly 14 percent, international expenditure is expected to remain lower than pre-pandemic levels.

WTTC also forecasts that international visitor spending will still need to catch up to its previous peak by over $20 billion.

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