So 2022 was the first growth year for investment in the global tourism sector since the pandemic. Even so, the sector is down over $100 billion down from its pre-pandemic level. It still has a long way to go for a full recovery.
Global capital investment in travel and tourism totaled $856 billion last year, down 23% from its pre-pandemic level of $1.1 trillion in 2019, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s recent Economic Impact 2023 Global Trends Report.
This year, global investment in the travel and tourism sector is expected to grow 11.5% to $955 billion, but it won’t return to its pre-pandemic level until 2025.
Last year was the first time investment in the sector had grown since the pandemic. Compared to 2021, global investment was up 11%. WTTC attributed it to global pent-up demand.
Capital flows tanked during the pandemic. Investment dropped 24% in 2020 and 8% in 2021. Before the pandemic, public and private sector investment in travel and tourism had grown at 4.3% per year between from 2010 and 2019, growing from $754.6 billion in 2010 to $1.1 trillion in 2019.
The countries with largest levels of investment were in 2022:
- U.S. — $213 billion
- China—$146 billion
- Saudi Arabia—$42 billion
Saudi Arabia has been upping its investment in its aviation infrastructure, hotels, attractions and other areas to triple tourism’s contribution to its economy.
WTTC expects the global tourism and travel sector will grow an average of 6.1% on average by 2033. Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean will have the strongest growth rates in tourism and travel investment. Recent interest rake hikes by central banks, however, could harm growth rates, according to WTTC.