Tourism and global employment

While it may not seem that tourism is an important factor in the world employment, it actually is quite a big factor and it is only growing. In fact, according to the International Labour Organisation the tourism industry currently accounts for 9% of the world wide GDP and for 8% of the global employment. This means that the total amount of people working in the tourism industry currently is around 235 million.

The tourism industry was quite affected by the economic crisis as one may expect, but is making a huge recovery right now. Seeing as how travel, trips and vacations are luxury goods the amount of people taking one depends on the economic situation. In good times the figures will rise fast while on the other hand during economic downfall’s the amount of people going on vacation will drop. Another big factor that influences the amount of tourist and time that they are travelling is of course the standard of living in a country, or in other words the amount of GDP of a country. Because of globalisation a lot of countries had a growing GDP over the last couple of decades, this meant that more people had the time and money to go on vacation. In 2010 there were a total of 935 million international tourist, which was the first increase since the peak year 2008 (before the crisis). A large part of this growth was thanks to developing countries in which the amount of arrivals grew with 8%. Most of the international tourist still come to Europe (51%) compared to 22% in Asia and 16% in the Americas. If we look at the regional areas that grew the last year, especially the middle-east (14%) and Asia (13%) grew, while Europe made a small recovery of 3% (the difference between 2010 and 2008 still is -8% however).

Prospects for 2011 are positive all over the board as well: the general growth will be somewhere around 5% while Asia will probably experience the highest growth. If tourism keeps growing around a steady 4% a year the prospects will be that in 2019 a total of 296 million people will be working in tourism. And with the growing world economy, rising GDP’s and more and more globalisation, tourism is going to be a growing figure within the world economy. Add to this the trend of more and more people going further abroad on vacation and you can understand that a lot of developing countries will benefit greatly from tourism. In fact, it might even be a major key in resolving poverty in the world because according to the UNTWO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation), tourism accounts for 30% of the world’s export services ($1 trillion) and even 45% in developing countries. So there you have it: doing what we all love and want to do, travel, might even be a key factor in saving the world one day.

-UNTWO World Tourism Barometer report. Issue number 9, February 2011.
-UNTWO Tourism and Millennium Development Goals. 2010.


4 thoughts on “Tourism and global employment

  1. I think it is a good thing that tourism is coming up again. Cause it is a huge source of income for some countries. some towns even depend almost completly on tourisme. And it’s a great way to see that the economy is recovering, cause when there is a good economic situation people go on hollidays!

  2. This article about the link between tourism and global labour market was interesting. For some countries, for instance in Spain, tourism is a very important part of the economy.
    Even if this sector was and is also affected by the economic crisis, I think that is a good idea to continue to invest on the tourism, because in my opinion people will continue to travel, even if it is less far away than before.

  3. The tourism industry is one of the most important sector for the Austrian economy. Some parts of Austria even are totally dependent on tourism. So, you can imagine what huge problems the economic crisis caused in Austria. As it was already mentioned in the post, traveling belongs to the sector of luxury goods. Due to the economic crisis, increasing oil prices etc. people stopped traveling. Although the austrian tourism industry suffered a lot from the crisis it is recovering very well.

  4. Lazing on beautiful beaches and luxury hotels slowly pass into the past. More and more are converted to tours in countries such as China and Thailand, India, etc. People are curious about the cultures of these countries therefore invest their money in such trips. These trends continued to grow, if that means grow tourism in the countries of East and South Asia will be developed which can result in better development of the capital income of the economy. This is an opportunity for these countries.


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