World Travel & Tourism Council expects record-breaking year for industry

The WTTC released a report that notes the tourism industry is expected to shatter 2019's numbers.
Southwest Airlines  Arrives at San Diego
Southwest Airlines Arrives at San Diego / Kevin Carter/GettyImages

The travel industry has always been a “big deal,” but it looks like that is going to translate into some historic records as well. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, 2024 is shaping up to be a year when travel is where the money resides.

In a joint study between the World Travel & Tourism Council and Oxford Economics, tourism is expected to help generate $11.1 trillion dollars. If this projection comes true, it will surpass the previous record in 2019 by 7.5 percent.

“I think it’s fair to say that travel is not back, it is booming,” said WTTC CEO Julia Simpson. “That is what we’re seeing at a global level.”

The report points out that domestic visitor spending is expected to climb 10.3 percent to a record $5.4 trillion, while international spending will drop 0.8 percent to $1.9 trillion.

Simpson also noted that the travel industry is expected to continue growing during the next decade. According to the report, travel will grow to $16 trillion globally, which will represent 11.4 percent of the world’s economy.

“It shows that our sector is going to be growing faster than global GDP,” Simpson said.

However, those increases aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. This comes at a time as companies continue to find ways to raise rates, impacting accessibility to travel for millions throughout the world. Airlines increase baggage fees, introduce “peak” pricing for checked bags, and raise ticket prices. Hotels also amended their cancellation policies while also increasing rates on their end. Plus, there’s the concerns about sustainability and environmental responsibility that comes with travel.

“It’s in our own interests morally but also commercially that we protect the beauty that we have around us,” Simpson said.

As travel expects to enjoy these increases, that will also have an impact on the industry’s environmental footprint. The WTTC found in 2023, that from 2010 to 2019 travel and tourism GDP had an average annual increase of 4.3 percent, while the environment footprint increased 2.4 percent.

Travel is up and there are thousands of destinations around the world worth a visit. The industry is expected to see business booming this year, with trillions of dollars coming in along the way.