Travel and tourism industry generated record-breaking $8.8 trillion in 2018

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The sector also supported 319 million jobs worldwide, according to a new WTTC report

The global travel and tourism sector has never been as booming as it is right now. According to a new report published by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the industry grew at a rate of 3.9 per cent to contribute a record $8.8 trillion to the world economy in 2018.

For the eighth consecutive year, this was above the growth rate of world GDP.

“2018 was another year of strong growth for the global travel and tourism sector reinforcing its role as a driver of economic growth and job creation. For the eighth consecutive year, our sector outpaced growth in the wider global economy and we recorded the second-highest growth of any major sector in the world,” said Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO.

The report also suggests that the travel and tourism sector supported 319 million jobs globally — representing one in ten of all jobs in the world. The industry was responsible for one in five of all new jobs created in the world over the last five years.

“Yet again, this proves the power of travel tourism as a tool for governments to generate prosperity while creating jobs which particularly support women, youth and other, often marginalised groups of society.

“In fact, travel and tourism now accounts for one in five of all new jobs created worldwide and is forecast to contribute 100 million new jobs globally over the next ten years, accounting for 421 million jobs by 2029.”

US remained the biggest market despite trade tensions with China

With travel and tourism generating more than $1.6 trillion in 2018, the United States retained its status as the world’s largest travel and tourism economy, according to the WTTC report.

The sector accounted for 7.8 per cent of US GDP growing by 2.2 per cent last year.

However, the growth was affected by the trade tensions between the US and China.

“After recording ten years of stellar growth, international visitor numbers from China were flat year on year, caused in part by the deteriorating trade relations between the two countries,” Guevara said.   

“Given the economic importance of Chinese visitors, any thawing in the trade relations between the two countries would have a positive effect for the wider US economy.”