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WTTC Says Reopening International Travel Could Create 2 Million Jobs

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) released data that suggests more than two million jobs could be created if international travel reopens before the busy summer period.

While the WTTC remains optimistic about the future, officials warned that if current restrictions continue and international travel is not allowed to resume at a higher capacity, the potential U.S. job recovery will be cut in half to only one million generated.

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The WTTC data found $105 billion of the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to the national economy could be at stake if international travel remains restricted. The livelihoods of millions who work in the industry would also be devastated.

“Travelers in the U.S. are eager to reunite with family members and friends around the world,” WTTC Senior Vice President Virginia Messina said. “The country should be taking advantage of its successful vaccine rollout to restore international mobility safely. With the U.S. being the largest contributor to the global Travel & Tourism economy, the country’s recovery plays an important role in the rebound of the global sector.”

The study found the rising number of vaccinated Americans has increased consumer confidence in booking and planning future vacations, but travel and tourism jobs within the U.S. declined by 33.2 percent in 2020, equating to 5.51 million jobs.

Despite the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. has maintained its lead as the largest travel and tourism contributor in the global sector. WTTC warns the continuing lack of international travel could threaten the nation’s position as the top hub for business and leisure travel.

“Staycations and domestic travel cannot fill the enormous financial hole left by the collapse of international travel and the trickle-down benefits it has across the supply chain,” Messina continued. “While protecting public health is the number one priority, if the government continues its overly cautious approach, hundreds of thousands more jobs could be lost, and many businesses related to Travel & Tourism will not survive.”

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