World Travel & Tourism Council

The Authority on World Travel & Tourism

Travel & Tourism larger industry than automotive manufacturing

18 April 2012

The global Travel & Tourism industry is double the size of automotive manufacturing and roughly one-third larger than chemicals manufacturing.

This is according to new research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) sponsored by American Express, launched on the eve of WTTC’s 12th Global Summit in Tokyo, Japan.

The research, undertaken by Oxford Economics, shows that the sector’s direct contribution to world GDP of US$2 trillion (2.8%) is more than double the GDP of automotive manufacturing and one-third larger than the global chemicals industry. Travel & Tourism generates roughly the same GDP as the global education and communications sectors, and about half that of the global banking and financial services industry.

The sector’s total contribution to world GDP (taking direct, indirect and induced impacts into account) of US$6.3trillion (9.1%) in 2011 compares with 8% contribution of automotive manufacturing and mining.

Travel & Tourism directly contributes more to GDP than automotive manufacturing in every region of the world, three times more in the Americas and twice as much in Europe. The sector’s contribution to GDP is larger than the chemicals industry in every world region except Asia.

In terms of employment, the importance of the sector is even more pronounced. After education, Travel & Tourism is the top job creator with an average of 50 jobs generated by US$1 million in spend, this is twice as many jobs as created by financial services, communications and auto manufacturing.

In 2011, 98 million people were directly employed by Travel & Tourism. This is:
• 6 times more than automotive manufacturing
• 5 times more than the global chemicals industry
• 4 times more than the global mining industry
• 2 times more than the global communications industry
• A third more than the global financial services industry

Taking the indirect and induced employment into account, Travel & Tourism sustained 255 million jobs in 2011, 1 in 12 of all jobs in the world. This exceeds the jobs impact of automotive manufacturing, chemicals manufacturing and mining and is slightly less than education, communications and financial services.

Travel & Tourism directly sustains more jobs than the automotive and chemicals manufacturing industries combined across every region of the world. Employment by the sector in Europe—reaching 10 million in 2011—exceeds automotive manufacturing by a factor of three; and in Asia, there are 7 times as many tourism jobs as auto manufacturing jobs and 5 times as many chemicals manufacturing jobs.

In every region of the world, Travel & Tourism directly sustains more jobs than the financial services, communications, and mining industries.

All sectors stimulate activity across the rest of the economy. In 18 out of the 20 economies analysed, a new dollar in Travel & Tourism generates 20% more for the wider economy than the average of all sectors. Travel & Tourism also outperforms the majority of the key sectors we analysed in terms of generating GDP across the entire economy.

As the 12th WTTC Global Summit in Tokyo kicks off, the research also highlights the importance of Travel & Tourism in Japan in a special report focusing on the country. The analysis shows that while the industry’s direct contribution to Japan’s GDP is three –quarters the size of the automotive manufacturing sector, Travel & Tourism directly generates over 80% more jobs.

David Scowsill, President and CEO, WTTC said:

“These numbers are extremely significant. For over twenty years, the World Travel & Tourism Council has spearheaded global analysis of the economic impact of Travel & Tourism. WTTC has now taken this research one step further and assessed the role Travel & Tourism plays in the world economy in comparison to other economic sectors.

“The results are extraordinary. Within our industry we have always known that Travel & Tourism is a vast contributor to economic growth and job creation. These figures bear out just how significant – twice the size of the global automotive manufacturing sector; employing one third more people than the global financial services industry.

“These figures prove beyond any doubt that it is time that the world’s Governments really sit up and take notice of the Travel & Tourism industry. As a driver of economic recovery and growth in a very turbulent time, the industry stands apart for the sheer scale of its ability to create jobs and growth in every part of the globe.”

Bill Glenn, President Global Corporate Payments and Global Business Travel, American Express, said:

“More than any other, the travel industry drives commerce and business, facilitates connections and enables tourism and adventure.  American Express has a proud heritage of more than 160 years in travel and we’re pleased to support this new research with the WTTC to ensure that travel stays vibrant and vital for many years to come.”

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Note to Editors
• The World Travel & Tourism Council is the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism. It promotes sustainable growth for the industry, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity. In 2011 Travel & Tourism accounted for 255 million jobs globally. At US$6.3 trillion (9.1% of GDP) the sector is a key driver for investment and economic growth. For more than 20 years, the World Travel & Tourism Council has been the voice of this industry globally. Members are the Chairs, Presidents and Chief Executives of the world’s leading, private sector Travel & Tourism businesses. These Members bring specialist knowledge to guide government policy and decision-making, raising awareness of the importance of the industry as an economic generator of prosperity.

• The WTTC annual Global Summit is the pre-eminent event in the global Travel & Tourism calendar each year, bringing together nearly 1,000 industry and government leaders from around the world to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing Travel & Tourism and to set the agenda for the future health of the industry. Everyone at the Global Summit plays a part in helping Governments (local, national, regional, supranational) and wider society to better understand Travel & Tourism’s role as a driver of economic growth and employment. Travel & Tourism can play a significant role in powering the global economic recovery but it needs Governments to advance policies which play their part - particularly relating to visa entry and taxation policies. The Global Summit brings all the players together and creates the environment for dialogue, decisions and action.

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