Imagine a world without travel and tourism.

No sightseeing on beaches, no mountains, no cities to explore.

No new cuisines to try, no new cultures to learn about.

It would be a very different world, wouldn’t it?

The travel and tourism industry is one of the largest and most important industries in the world.

It contributes trillions of dollars to the global economy and supports millions of jobs.

But it’s also worth much more than that.

It is worth the memories we create when we travel, the people we meet, and the experiences we have.

In this article, we will take a look at the answer to how much travel and tourism will take place in 2023.

We’ll also explore some of the trends shaping the industry’s future.

Key Statistics

  • Global travel and tourism market rebounded in 2021, reaching $631 billion
  • Travel Costs Up Overall, But Airfares Down 12% from Pre-Pandemic
  • International travel share of travel costs expected to grow in 2023
  • Travel spending surged 25% in 2021, but failed to reach pre-pandemic levels.
  • More travelers than ever are making last-minute flight reservations 
How much is the travel and tourism industry worth? 

1. How much is the travel and tourism industry worth? 

According to global data published in 2021, the travel and tourism industry had a $631 billion global market size. 

The increase in internet users and the demand for convenience among travelers both contributed to the expansion in the market for online travel intermediates in recent years, as did the increase in the number of online travel intermediaries.

According to the same source, the easing of restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and the sharp increase in travel products offered by online travel intermediaries as consumers planned their travel activities after a lapse of almost two years led to a 43% growth in the global travel and tourism market in 2021.

(Global Data)

2. Travel and Tourism During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak that occurred in 2020 largely destroyed the travel and tourist business, reversing the rise that it was expected to experience.

The market value of travel and tourism declined by a staggering 62% in 2020, with the industry’s allied industries suffering significantly.

(Global Data)

3. Travel Costs Up Overall, But Airfares Down 12% from Pre-Pandemic

Last month, airfares were not only much lower than last year (down 13% compared to August 2022) but were even 6% lower than  in August 2019 before the pandemic.

That’s according to the latest  Consumer Price Index data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in September 2023, based on August 2023 prices.

While airfares are certainly lower than last year, almost every other aspect of travel is higher.

Hotel prices have fallen from a record  hit last month but are still up nearly 3% over the past year.

The cost of dining out has increased nearly 7% in the past year and entertainment costs have increased more than 5%. 

4. NerdWallet’s Travel Price Index

According to NerdWallet’s Travel Price Index, total travel costs increased 12% compared to August 2019 and decreased 1% compared to the same month in 2022.

In summary, expect the same trip to be taken during the year will cost a little less than this year than times last year (largely due to plummeting airfares) – but it will be a lot more expensive than the pre-pandemic prices you usually pay.

(Nerd Wallet)

5. International travel share of travel costs expected to grow in 2023

International travel share of travel costs expected to grow in 2023

Referencing a travel survey of Deloitte Insights, the expansion of live events and the loosening of regulations are main factors behind the anticipated sustained increase in travel. 

The world’s largest economies eventually had totally open borders by early 2023, with China being the last to allow for both inbound and outgoing travel. 

According to US respondents, foreign travel will make up 33% of 2023 spending, up from 21% in Deloitte’s poll from 2022 and comparable to 2019.

Long-haul business travel from Europe is still catching up, according to respondents.

(Deloitte Insights)

6. Travel spending surged 25% in 2021, but failed to reach pre-pandemic levels.

Leisure travel spending recovered in 2021, though it remained below pre-pandemic levels, with travelers spending $2.9 trillion.

Business tourism spending was hit hard by the pandemic, falling by 47% in 2021 to $754 billion.

International tourist arrivals also recovered in 2021, increasing by 9% to 919 million.

This was still far behind the arrivals registered in 2019, which was 1.47 billion.

Despite a decline from 746 million visitors in 2019 to 303 million in 2021, Europe continued to be the top region for inbound tourism arrivals.


7. Travel and tourism contributes 7.7 trillion dollars to global GDP in 2022

When compared to 2019, the year before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began, travel and tourism’s overall contribution to the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) decreased by 23% in 2022. 

Tourism and travel as a whole contributed 7.7 trillion dollars to the world economy in 2022.

Forecasters anticipated that this amount would stay 5% below pre-pandemic levels in 2023, when it would reach an estimated 9.5 trillion US dollars.

Based on the overall amount that travel and tourism contributed to GDP in 2022, the US and China were by far the two largest travel markets.


8. More travelers than ever are making last-minute flight reservations 

Bookings for travel also take place much more quickly than in 2019 due to the significantly later start of the vacation planning phase.

Booking window for domestic travel has shrunk by over 10%, with reservations made roughly 3 weeks before departure as opposed to 3–4 weeks in 2019. 

Bookings for trips to Europe, the top international vacation destination for Americans, are being made a full two weeks earlier than they were before the pandemic, a 20% reduction in the entire booking advance.

In 2019, travelers planned their visits to Europe nine weeks in advance, compared to just seven weeks in 2022.  

(Media Hopper) 

9. Travel and Tourism Industry Lost $4.5 Trillion and 62 Million Jobs in 2020

The global travel and tourism industry is picking up steam in its post-pandemic recovery, fueled by a resurgence of the pent-up desire to travel worldwide.

The contrast between international tourist arrivals in January 2021 and those in January 2022 mirrors the entire growth witnessed throughout 2021. 

Nevertheless, the journey to full recovery remains extensive, given the industry’s massive GDP of 4.5 trillion USD and the staggering loss of 62 million jobs in 2020.

Several critical factors will significantly influence the industry’s performance.

These factors encompass travel restrictions, vaccination rates and health safety measures, evolving market dynamics, shifts in consumer preferences, and the adaptability of businesses and destinations. 

Simultaneously, the industry must also prepare itself to cope with potential future disruptions.

(World Economic Forum) 

10. Travel and Tourism in the Next 10 Years

Travel and Tourism in the Next 10 Years

By 2033, the industry is expected to generate $15.5 trillion, or 11.6% of the entire global economy, and employ 430 million people worldwide, or over 12% of the working population, according to the international tourist association.  

34 of the 185 countries under observation have now reached their pre-pandemic GDP contribution levels, according to the most recent EIR.  

According to the WTTC, 95% or more of the 185 nations will have either fully recovered or will be close to doing so by the end of 2023.

(World Travel and Tourism Council)


The travel and tourism industry is worth more than just money.

It is worth the memories, the experiences, and the personal growth that it provides to people all over the world.

When we travel, we open our minds to new cultures and perspectives.

We learn about different ways of life and make new friends from all over the world.

We also create lasting memories that we will cherish forever.

Travel and tourism is also an important economic driver.

It supports millions of jobs and generates billions of dollars in revenue each year.

In many countries, travel and tourism is the leading source of foreign exchange earnings.

So, how much is the travel and tourism industry worth?

It is worth trillions of dollars and millions of jobs.

But it is also worth much more than that. It is worth the memories, the people we meet, and the experiences we have.


StatistaGlobalDataWorld Travel and Tourism Council
Statista 2DeloitteNerdWallet
Statista 3Hopper MediaWorld Economic Forum