Tourists Heading Back to Australia Say World Travel & Tourism Council

Tourists Heading Back to Australia Say World Travel & Tourism Council

London, UK – The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed positive signs of recovery for the Australian travel and tourism sector with major cities welcoming travelers again.

The Cities Economic Impact Report, sponsored by Visa and researched in partnership with Oxford Economics, analyzed key travel and tourism metrics across 82 cities around the world, including contribution to GDP, employment and travel spending.

The analysis in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth shows that Travel and Tourism’s direct contribution to each city’s GDP and jobs continues to rise. But prolonged border closures in Australia and key markets such as China mean visitor spending numbers remain low.

GDP contribution from Travel and Tourism sector is gradually recovering

The WTTC Cities Economic Impact Report shows that the city’s travel and tourism sector contributed more than AU$4.5 billion to Perth’s economy in 2019, and AU$10 billion and AU$13 billion to Melbourne’s and Sydney’s economies respectively.

But the pandemic has had a devastating effect on Australia’s national economy and the economies of its major cities, as the border has closed to overseas visitors.

In Perth, Travel & Tourism’s contribution to GDP fell by almost half (to just under AU$2.5BN) and in Sydney by almost two-thirds (to AU$5BN) in 2020. In Melbourne, the GDP contribution fell by almost falling by three-quarters to just AU$3 billion the same year.

Melbourne saw a revival in 2021, rising to AU$4 billion, but both Sydney and Perth saw continued declines. Sydney fell to just over AU$4BN and Perth to just over AU$2BN.

All three cities are now showing signs of recovery albeit at different rates.

Last year, Perth showed the slowest signs of recovery, with the GDP contribution forecast to hover at half of what it was in 2019, and close to AU$2.75 billion. Last year, WTTC predicted Melbourne and Sydney would be only 25% and 27% below 2019 levels, at almost AU$8BN and AU$9.5BN respectively.

Australia is an incredibly vibrant country that is popular with overseas visitors, but as borders have remained closed at home and in Australia’s biggest source markets, the country has suffered for a longer period compared to other countries.

As China reopens, the future looks bright for Travel and Tourism and the critical contribution it makes to Australia’s economy and jobs.
It is crucial that central and local government continue to recognize the economic and social importance of Travel and Tourism.

The sector has shown its resilience and with the right support recovery can be much faster and much stronger. Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO

Jobs on the rise

Job numbers paint a slightly mixed picture.

In 2019 there were just over 40,000 travel and tourism jobs in Perth. In 2020, this figure dropped to just over 31,000, experiencing a slight increase to 34,000 in 2021, but is estimated to have fallen again in 2022 to just under 27,500.

Both Melbourne and Sydney are seeing stronger setbacks for sector work. In Sydney, employment levels are forecast to be just over 118.5,000 in 2022, 16% below pre-pandemic levels, and in Melbourne, employment levels are expected to be 115,000, just 6% below 2019.

Visitor spending continues to struggle

As tourists return to the cities, we are seeing signs of recovery in terms of international visitor spending, although slower than many other major cities around the world due to the prolonged border closures in Australia.

Despite signs of recovery in international visitor spending and more tourists returning to cities, it has taken longer in Australia due to its key source markets, such as China, also extending their own border closures.

But finally, these three Australian cities are starting to bounce back. While international visitor spending in 2022 is still an average of 46% lower than in 2019, all three cities show strong year-on-year increases.

For further information please contact the WTTC Press Office at [email protected].

To access the Cities Economic Impact Report, sponsored by Visa, please visit

About WTTC

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) represents the global travel and tourism private sector. Members include 200 CEOs, chairmen and presidents of the world’s leading travel and tourism companies from all geographies covering all industries. For over 30 years, WTTC has been committed to making governments and the public aware of the economic and social significance of the travel and tourism sector.

WTTC Press Office

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