Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the global tourism sector has started to rebound from the low point seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to a steady recovery in international tourist arrivals, according to a newly published report. The report, based on international tourism data from fDi Markets and UNWTO, provided a comprehensive overview of the current investment cycle in the tourism sector, with investment data broken down by region, segment and company. The main findings of the report are:

  • Both the number of FDI projects and the rate of job creation in the tourism cluster increased by 23%, from 286 investments in 2021 to 352 in 2022. The number of jobs created in tourism FDI also increased by 23% over the same period, to an estimated 36,400 in 2022.
  • The leading destination region for tourism FDI projects in 2022 was Western Europe, with 143 reported investments worth an estimated USD 2.2 billion.
  • The number of announced projects in the Asia-Pacific region increased slightly by 2.4% to 42 projects in 2022.
  • The hotel and tourism industry accounted for almost two-thirds of all projects in the tourism cluster between 2018 and 2022.
  • FDI projects increased by 25% between 2021 and 2022.

“To ensure the growth and competitiveness of the sector, significant investments must be made in education and talent by upskilling the professional workforce and implementing vocational and technical programmes. Only in this way can we equip young people — of whom only 50% have completed secondary education — with the knowledge and capabilities they need to thrive in the sector. These investments will then pave the way for a skilled workforce that can deliver exceptional growth, drive innovation and, by embracing digital technologies, enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the tourism sector,” argues Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General.
“As the sector steers its course towards recovery and growth, UNWTO now, more than ever, prioritises innovation, education and strategic investments as the pillars for recalibrating and adapting to these ever-evolving market dynamics. Spearheading a series of initiatives, we equip the professional workforce with new skills through upskilling and vocational workforce programmes, creating quality job opportunities, and raising average wages across the entire tourism value chain,” says Natalia Bayona, executive director of the UNWTO.

The North America and Asia-Pacific regions each contribute three companies to the top 10 investors list for tourism foreign direct investment (FDI) between 2018 and 2022. The rest of the top 10 comprises companies from Europe, with Spain-based Melia, UK-based Intercontinental Hotels Group, France-based Accor and UK-based Selina all featuring.