Tourism in Japan will return to pre-pandemic levels next year. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has indicated that Japan’s travel and tourism industry will provide a substantial boost to the nation’s economic recovery next year, with its contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) expected to approach pre-crisis levels.

The Economic Impact Report (EIR) of the WTTC projects that the sector’s contribution to Japan’s GDP might reach about 40 trillion by the end of 2023, only 2.2% below 2019 levels.

The report also indicates that employment will surpass pre-pandemic levels by more than 23,000 jobs by the end of the year, reaching more than 5.8 million.

Over the next decade, the travel and tourism industry’s GDP is projected to increase by an average of 2.6% per year, which is more than three times the rate of growth for the country’s overall economy (0.7%). This growth will bring the industry’s GDP to over 46.7 trillion (7.8 percent of the total economy).

The prediction also indicates that the sector would produce almost 683,000 jobs over the following decade, averaging over 68,000 new employment annually, to reach over 6.2 million workers by the end of 2032.

By the end of this year, the sector’s contribution to the GDP is projected to increase by an astounding 60 percent to more than 36,2 trillion, or 6.5 percent of the entire economic GDP.

Although employment levels are predicted to increase at a slower rate (1.9%), more than 5.6 million people will be employed in the industry by the end of this year.

Julia Simpson, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, stated, “After the pain suffered by Japan’s travel and tourism, the outlook for the future is much brighter.

“Following two years of restrictions to mobility, which damaged the sector, there are reasons for optimism as the sector is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

“But there is still work to be done. Removing testing and facilitating international travel will further boost the sector’s growth and fast-track the recovery.”

Prior to the pandemic, the Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to Japan’s GDP was 7.3% (40.8 trillion) in 2019, decreasing to just 3.5% (18.4 trillion) in 2020, a startling 54.8 percent decrease.

In addition, 5.8 million employment were supported by the industry in 2019, with that number reducing to just around 5.3 million in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

Japan’s travel and tourism industry began to rebound in 2021, according to the most recent EIR report published by the global tourism organisation.

Its contribution to the GDP increased by 22.9 percent year-over-year to 22.7 trillion last year.

More than 210,000 travel and tourist jobs recovered, marking a 4 percent increase, bringing the total number of employees to 5.5 million.

The sector’s contribution to the economy and employment could have been greater if not for the impact of the Omicron variant, which caused the global recovery to fail and led to the reinstatement of severe travel restrictions in many nations.


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