Reimagining the $9 trillion tourism economy—what will it take?
Tourism made up 10 percent of global GDP in 2019 and was worth almost $9 trillion, nearly three times larger than agriculture. But, the tourism value chain is fragmented, with limited coordination among SMEs and governments have generally played a limited role in the industry.
COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented crisis for the tourism industry: international tourist arrivals are projected to plunge by 60 to 80 percent in 2020; and tourism spending is not likely to return to precrisis levels until 2024, putting up to 120 million jobs at risk. Thus, reopening tourism-related businesses and managing their recovery in a way that is safe, attractive for tourists, and economically viable will require coordination at a level not seen before.
As borders start reopening and interest in tourism rebounds, this article explores how governments can rethink their role within tourism.