Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism had for decades been one of the fastest-growing industries. While the number of international tourist arrivals in 1950 was only 25 million, it had risen to 674 million by 2000 and to 1.5 billion by 2019. Domestic tourism has also become more and more important.
As the number of tourists has grown, so has the economic significance of tourism. In 2019, tourism accounted for about ten per cent of global GDP (gross domestic product). One in ten jobs worldwide is directly related to tourism.
Over the past few decades, the importance of tourist destinations in the Global South has risen continuously as well. While in 1995 the share of international arrivals in developing countries and emerging economies was only 26 per cent, it was already as much as 38 per cent by 2010. More than half of all Germans (52 per cent) have already visited an emerging or developing country.