The travel and tourism sector accounts for almost 7.8 million U.S. jobs, after growing 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, the National Travel and Tourism Office reported today.

Travel-related job growth outpaced overall job growth, which increased 2.5 percent in the same quarter.

The food and drink sector was the most significant contributor to job growth increasing 4.3 percent in that quarter.

Job growth is of course boosted by increases in travel spend. Domestic and international spend on travel and tourism grew at an annual rate of 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter, beating the growth of the overall U.S. economy.

A record 74.7 million international visitors arrived in the U.S. in 2014 fueling travel spend and job growth.

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Photo Credit: Waiters at the Plaza Hotel Oak Bar. Jazz Guy / FlickrPlaza Hotel Oak Bar Waiters.