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The US Retains its Position as the World’s Biggest Travel & Tourism Market by Boosting Domestic Travel

The latest World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Economic Trends Report reveals the USA remains the world’s biggest and most powerful Travel & Tourism market.

Its top ranking was reaffirmed, despite extended travel restrictions which resulted in severe economic losses.

However, while its number one position was retained, the U.S. Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to the nation’s economy fell from US$700 billion in 2019 to just under US$1.3 trillion last year.

Research by Oxford Economics for WTTC shows there has been no change in the top three countries – with China second and Germany third.

But the rankings are illusionary as the top economies bolstered their numbers through domestic travel while international visitor numbers plummeted.

In the U.S., International traveller spending rankings saw it toppled from its pre-pandemic top position.

But despite the challenges of the past two years, the new report from the global tourism body shows business travel is on the road to recovery.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Our report shows the resilience of the Travel & Tourism sector, despite the impact of travel restrictions around the world which failed to halt the spread of the virus.

Despite a challenging macro environment, Travel & Tourism has bounced back. The world, with some exceptions, is travelling again. And we are seeing a resurgence in business travel. Over the next ten years, Travel & Tourism growth will outstrip the global economy.”

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO

The UK slipped dramatically from fifth place in 2019 to ninth in 2021, with a contribution of just over US$157 billion, the biggest fall of the top 10 countries.

Regarding international traveller spending, France, which was in fourth place before the pandemic, overtook Spain, China, and the US to grab first place.

China, which remains shut to much of the rest of the world, was in second place before the pandemic but fell dramatically to 11th position in 2021.

To read the report in full, please click here.

Emer Roche
Emer Roche
Emer has over 10 years experience working for Irish magazines, supplements, websites and creative agencies. She’s written features for U Magazine, Image Magazine and theheyday.ie, across a range of subjects such as women’s interest, travel, culture, news and interviews. She also has a portfolio of commercial writing for creative agencies, such as RTE.ie and Originate Creative. Emer is a Dublin native with part of her heart in Ardmore, County Waterford. She lives in Dublin 7 with her husband, two kids, dog and cat.


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