In case the world needed any more proof that travel is one of the largest global industries, it just got it.
The travel industry employed one in 11 people in the world’s working population in 2015, supporting more than 284 million jobs that contributed more than $7.2 trillion to global GDP.
That number of jobs is more than Brazil’s entire population, for example, and travel’s GDP contribution accounts for nearly 10 percent of the world’s total GDP.
Some 7.2 million new jobs were generated by travel and tourism in 2015, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2016 global economic impact report which analyzed economic data on the contribution of the travel industry on a global level and for 184 countries in 24 regions.
“Terror attacks, disease outbreaks, currency fluctuations and geopolitical challenges have impacted the sector at a country or regional level, but travel and tourism at the global level continues to produce another robust performance,” said David Scowsill, CEO of WTTC, in a statement.
Travel and tourism directly generated more than 107 million jobs in 2015 (3.6 percent of the world’s total employment) and that’s forecast to grow nearly two percent in 2016 to 109.8 million. This includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). It also includes, for example, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.
By 2026, travel will directly account for 135.8 million jobs with an annual increase of 2.1 percent during the next decade.
Travel and tourism workers can thank the billion-plus international travelers who crossed borders last year. WTTC projects that global destinations will attract more than 1.2 billion international travelers during 2016 and, by 2026, nearly two billion. Given the world’s population is projected to reach eight billion people within 10 years that means 25 percent of the global population will travel internationally each year by 2026.
Photo credit: A front desk employee at the Crown Plaza Changi Airport in Singapore helps guests check-in to their room. Dan Peltier / Skift