Global travel is officially back, and here are the stats that prove it

by | 19 Jul 2023

With borders reopened and wanderlust rekindled, global travel has triumphantly reemerged. Destinations beckon with open arms as we rediscover the joys of exploring new countries and cultures, savoring diverse cuisines and creating unforgettable memories with our loved ones. More and more people are packing their bags and heading off on their dream vacations and here are the stats that prove it.

Travel and tourism sector recovering by more than 95%

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In its 2023 Economic Impact Research report, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) revealed that the travel and tourism sector is recovering by over 95%. Figures show that the gross domestic product (GDP) contribution of the industry will be 5% off its 2019 peak by the end of 2023.

The research, conducted by the WTTC in collaboration with Oxford Economics, also shows that 34 of 185 examined nations have reached their pre-pandemic GDP contribution levels.

The WTTC predicts that the travel and tourism sector will return to pre-pandemic levels next year. And looking ahead to the next decade, they are forecasting that the travel and tourism sector will grow its GDP contribution to $15.5trn by 2033, representing 11.6% of the global economy.

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Recovery set to significantly surpass 2019

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A core market benchmark for global travel is the Skift Travel Health Index, which carries out monthly monitoring of the road to recovery. In their latest monthly report from May 2023, they stated that with “14 out of 22 countries having fully recovered and some overtaking pre-pandemic travel performance,” they anticipate the index to “soon significantly surpass 2019 levels if the present travel trends continue.”

Launched in May 2020, this is a real-time measure of the performance of the global travel industry at large. It measures a wide range of indicators and works with numerous data partners to track the health of the travel industry beyond the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Changing travel trends in the marketplace

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The change in global trends can be seen at a macro level too, with individual businesses and sectors reporting upwards travel trends.

According to travel insurance marketplace, older generations are returning to travel in large numbers. They state that “Travelers ages 60+ account for the largest travel demographic for the first time since the start of the pandemic, reflecting pre-Covid travel trends.”

Their analytics compared travel insurance policy sales for insured trips purchased between Dec. 1 and January 31 from 2019 to 2023. Now, the company’s share of travelers aged 60+ has more than doubled, rising by 125%.

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Why not seize the moment?

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Are you experiencing this swell of wanderlust? Don’t miss out on the global travel fun, seize the moment and reward your spontaneity. With our Last Minute Deals, you can save up to 15%* on premium tours guaranteed to depart in the next four months

You could be discovering the Dalmatian Coast and islands on a luxury yacht or exploring the pyramids of Egypt. Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle is always memorable. Cook paella in Spain, lunch with fishermen on Canada’s Prince Edward Island or sample Agutak, Eskimo ice cream, made by Alaska’s first people.

However, if you prefer to travel later, take a look at our worldwide collection of premium guided tours.

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I'm a writer, editor and interview specialist with a lifetime's love of travel. There’s nothing more inspiring to me than meeting, and writing about, the world's leading destination experts and travel industry insiders. The thing I love most about writing for Insightful is that I'm always learning something new.