The Travel & Tourism Development Index 2024| The Planner

As the world emerges from the pandemic, the Travel and Tourism (T&T) sector is poised for a significant rebound, with international tourist arrivals expected to reach pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024. The latest Travel & Tourism Development Index (TTDI) 2024, published by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the University of Surrey, provides a comprehensive analysis of the factors and policies that drive sustainable and resilient T&T development.

Global recovery and mixed growth

Despite the sector’s resilience, recovery has been uneven across regions and market segments. The TTDI 2024 highlights that while 71 out of 119 ranked economies improved their scores compared to 2019, the average index score increased by just 0.7%.

High-income economies in Europe and Asia-Pacific continue to dominate the top rankings, benefiting from robust business environments, open travel policies, and well-developed infrastructure. In contrast, many developing economies still face significant challenges in closing the gap in T&T enabling conditions.

Challenges and opportunities

The report identifies several external macroeconomic, geopolitical, and environmental factors that continue to pressure the sector. High global inflation, interest rates, conflicts, and climate change are among the major challenges. The TTDI underscores the need for strategic and holistic approaches to navigate these complexities and harness T&T’s potential to drive global prosperity.

Key dimensions and pillars

The TTDI 2024 is structured around five key dimensions:

  1. Enabling Environment,
  2. T&T Policy and Enabling Conditions,
  3. Infrastructure and Services,
  4. T&T Resources, and
  5. T&T Sustainability.

Each dimension comprises multiple pillars that collectively measure the sector’s readiness and capacity for sustainable growth.

Enabling environment

This dimension covers the general conditions necessary for T&T operations, including the business environment, safety and security, health and hygiene, human resources, and ICT readiness. Notable improvements have been seen in ICT readiness, driven by expanded online access and digital payment usage.

T&T policy and enabling conditions

This dimension tracks policies directly tied to T&T growth, such as government prioritisation, openness to T&T, and price competitiveness. The report notes a decline in price competitiveness owing to rising fuel and operating costs but highlights increased visa accessibility and passport mobility in many developing economies.

Infrastructure and services

This dimension assesses the availability and quality of transport and tourism infrastructure. While there has been progress in air transport infrastructure, many economies still lag in tourism services and investment.

T&T resources

This dimension captures the natural, cultural, and non-leisure resources that drive tourism. Developing economies with rich natural and cultural heritage have opportunities for tourism-led economic development but require investment in management, promotion, and infrastructure.

T&T sustainability

This dimension addresses sustainability challenges and risks, emphasising the need for comprehensive strategies to balance growth with environmental conservation and social impact.

Future trends and recommendations

The TTDI 2024 also explores how the T&T sector can address future global challenges, including economic inequality, climate change, technological innovation, and global connectivity. The report calls for proactive efforts from public and private sector leaders to shape the sector into a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable industry.

The Travel & Tourism Development Index 2024 provides invaluable insights for policymakers, businesses, and stakeholders, highlighting the interconnected nature of T&T development and its potential to drive global prosperity. By leveraging the findings and recommendations of the TTDI, stakeholders can navigate the complex landscape of the post-pandemic world and unlock the full potential of the global travel and tourism sector.