The United Nations has emphasised the tourism sector for global economic recovery in 2022.
It discussed the importance of the sector, particularly for developing economies, in the current perspective on its flagship report "World Economic Situation and Prospects", said a press release.
After a global contraction of 3.4% in 2020 and a rebound of 5.5% in 2021, the world economy is projected to grow by 4% in 2022 and then 3.5% in 2023, the 2022 edition of the report said.
Mentioning the tourism sector as a major export category, after fuels and chemicals (prior to the pandemic), and recognising its role as a source of employment and economic development, the report said the sector's recovery would drive growth in every region of the world.
The report was made based on data from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the release reads.
"The sudden halt in international tourism caused by the pandemic has revealed the sector's importance to both national economies and individual livelihoods. The flagship UN report based on the UNWTO data assesses the cost of declining tourism and illustrates just how important restarting tourism will be in 2022 and beyond."
The report illustrates how the pandemic's impact has been felt beyond the sector itself. International tourist arrivals plunged by 73% in 2020, dropping to levels not seen for 30 years, it said, adding that while tourism did record a modest improvement in the third quarter of 2021, international arrivals between January-September 2021 were still 20% below the previous year (2020) levels and 76% below 2019 levels.
The crisis has had a devastating impact on employment, including in hospitality, travel services and retail trade.
It has disproportionately affected vulnerable groups, including youth and migrant workers, as well as workers with lower educational attainment and skills. Exacerbation of the gender divide is evident, especially in developing countries, with women seeing greater declines in employment and labour force participation than men.
Further analysing the sector's role in economic recovery, the UN report notes that many destinations, in particular tourism-dependent countries, will need to diversify their tourism throughout 2022 and beyond.