The World Travel & Tourism Council’s Global Summit opened today, 27 April, in Cancun, Mexico.

The event is taking place in a hybrid format, with several hundred attendees in person and more participating virtually.

World Travel & Tourism Council president & CEO Gloria Guevara spoke at the opening ceremony, praising the sector for its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Guevara pointed to WTTC’s 2021 Economic Impact Research, which shows that in 2020, the global travel & tourism sector lost almost USD$4.5 trillion dollars and over 62 million jobs.

Its GDP contribution fell to USD$4.7 trillion in 2020 from nearly US$9.2 trillion the previous year, a decrease of 49%.

The sector’s contribution to the global economy decreased from 10.4% to just 5.5% last year. Leisure spending decreased by 49.4%, and business spending by 61%. The pandemic crisis was 18 times bigger in terms of economic impact than the global financial crisis of 2008.

Guevara commented: “We are not going back to 2019 – we are moving forward. Travel & tourism will come out of this crisis stronger and better. But to do so, it is crucial we continue working together to achieve recovery both financially and socially. We need to be united.

“That is why we have chosen our theme for this year: Uniting the World for Recovery. By turning this crisis into an opportunity, we can make sure we become more inclusive and more sustainable.

“As we accelerate our recovery, we need to redouble our efforts to remove barriers to mobility, remove quarantines, focus on testing and accelerate the vaccination rollout globally, while continuing to support safety protocols.”

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