A new analysis from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has shown that the contribution of China’s Travel and Tourism sector to the GDP could reach ¥11 trillion this year, which is only 5.2 percent less than the pre-pandemic levels.

Through a press release issued on February 18, WTTC has revealed that, before the outbreak of the pandemic, China’s Travel and Tourism sector has contributed to GDP with ¥11.5 trillion, which means 1.6 percent of the country’s economy.

Although, due to the pandemic in 2020, Travel and Tourism’s contribution to the Chinese economy dropped by 59.9 percent to ¥4.6 trillion, VisaGuide.World reports.

Fighting the spread of the Omicron variant, China has strictly enforced its “zero-Covid” policy by using strict border controls and blockades.

The Covid-19 pandemic first appeared in China’s Hubei province, so the country has taken control of everything, including early blockades in March 2020, where most visitors are still not allowed in.

Restrictions on a select number of travelers from 23 countries were eased on March 15, 2021, including those working or humanitarian, family reunification who can also apply for visas and enter the country.

Currently, travelers entering China must be quarantined at a government-designated hotel for nearly two weeks and the third week in another home or facility.

According to WTTC, if China were to begin easing restrictions throughout this year with more than 87 percent of its population already fully inoculated, the sector’s contribution to GDP could reach ¥11 trillion in 2022, which means only 5.2 percent behind levels before the pandemic.

From the recent research by the global tourism body, it’s shown that as the national global economy starts to recover, the contribution of the sector to the country’s economy and jobs could reach almost pre-pandemic levels.

Due to travel rules and complete border closures, the Travel and Tourism businesses in China experienced a serious loss in 2020, with more than 16 million people left jobless.

WTTC also stressed that if the country continues focusing on the Travel and Tourism sector, especially by reopening its borders to international visitors, then China’s economy could recover.

“The sector could recover more than 14 million jobs to reach nearly 81 million jobs in 2022 – just 1.7 percent below 2019 levels,” the statement reads.

WTTC President & CEO Julia Simpson noted that opening China’s borders would be a huge benefit to both economic wealth and jobs, adding that China plays a critical role in the global Travel and Tourism sector.

“Our latest research shows 2022 could bring a strong recovery for Travel & Tourism globally, with pent-up demand and vaccination rates driving the recovery of this economically boosting sector,” she said.

In addition, Simpson also added that if China wants the economy to recover, then there is still a lot of work to be done to get back all jobs that have been lost.

WTTC has also urged the Chinese government and governments worldwide to focus on the vaccination of the population and allow all those travelers who are fully vaccinated to move freely without being tested.

Such data show that the sector’s contribution to the region’s GDP could achieve ¥20 trillion, with 2.9 trillion USD, which is close to pre-pandemic levels, while employment could reach over 190 million jobs, surpassing the figures for the year 2019.

The UK is another country which expects its Travel and Tourism sector to recover this year. The WTTC, in another report, has predicted that in 2022 the country’s GDP will grow to 192 billion, just 19 percent below pre-pandemic levels.

Similarly, another analysis issued by the WTTC on February 9 shows that due to the tourism recovery, the US economy will exceed by more than six percent the levels registered in 2019 by marking over $2 trillion in GDP contributions.

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