The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) released its Cities Economic Impact Report sponsored by Visa and researched in partnership with Oxford Economics on Thursday, revealing the U.S. destinations that played the largest role in the domestic travel industry’s recovery in 2022.
Based on the research, Orlando was the largest U.S. Travel and Tourism city destination in 2022 with an economic contribution of over $31 billion, which represents 20 percent of the city’s total GDP and marks a recovery above pre-pandemic 2019 levels by a whopping $2.7 billion.
Another mecca for entertainment, Las Vegas ranks as the country’s second largest Travel and Tourism market with a direct GDP contribution of $23 billion last year, surpassing the 2019 baseline by 5.3 percent.
Elsewhere in Florida, Miami also stood out, recording a GDP comeback last year of $11.1 billion that exceeded pre-pandemic Travel and Tourism contributions by as much as 5 percent despite a significant 56 percent drop in economic contribution from the sector in the pandemic-plagued 2020.
New York City and Los Angeles also excelled in 2022 with Travel and Tourism GDPs checking in at $21.1 billion and $11 billion, respectively.
The study also found that the pandemic and related international travel restrictions led to far more domestic travel in recent years. In 2019, domestic travelers made up an 84.6 percent share of Travel and Tourism spending in the U.S. compared to more than 95 percent in 2021.
“It was a fightback year for cities across the country in 2022. Destinations like Orlando, Miami, Chicago and Las Vegas are back stronger than ever before thanks to the relaxation of pandemic restrictions and a strong rebound of consumer confidence,” WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson said in a statement.
“Other popular holiday destinations like San Francisco, Honolulu and Washington D.C. are following suit with growing sector GDP contributions that are well on their way to recovering from peak pandemic lows as they build up their industry workforce and cultivate a flourishing base of international travelers.”
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