Global tourism in 2021 stood at 448 million tourist arrivals and US$637 billion (S$849 billion) in expenditures, one-third of the pre-Covid-19 level in 2019. To put it in perspective, the size of global tourism now is equivalent to that of 1990 in terms of tourist arrivals. This unprecedented recession has far eclipsed all impacts of the 1990-1991 recession, 2001-2002 terrorist attacks and the 2007-2008 global financial crisis combined.
In fact, global tourism was likely to plateau out after 2019 even if Covid-19 had not broken out. The Chinese market, which made up 10 per cent of global tourist arrivals and 18 per cent of expenditure, had shown signs of a slowdown due to the decreasing growth of the Chinese economy.