Travel is big business, and business is so good the president has jumped aboard. In May the Obama administration announced its National Travel and Tourism Strategy, making selling travel a national priority.
The goal is simple: Attract 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021. This move also recognizes the travel and tourism industry as a fundamental contributor to local and national economies.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, since the jobs recovery began the industry has created more than 250,000 new jobs, outpacing growth in other industries. Travel and tourism support more than 14 million American jobs (includes 7.4 million directly in the travel industry and 6.7 million in other industries), contributing $1.9 trillion to the economy and $118 billion in tax revenue. By some estimates, each household would pay $1,000 more in taxes without the annual tax revenue generated by this industry.
More facts about the economic impact of travel and tourism:
• Direct spending on leisure travel by domestic and international travelers totaled $526 billion and generated $82 billion in tax revenue in 2010.
• Three out of four domestic trips (about 1.5 billion or 77 percent) are for leisure purposes.
• Top purposes for domestic travel in order are (1) visiting relatives; (2) shopping; (3) visiting friends; (4) rural sightseeing; and (5) beaches.
Regarding business travel:
• Direct spending by domestic and international travelers, including related business expenditures while traveling, totaled $233 billion in 2010.
• U.S. residents logged 448 million trips for business purposes in 2010, with more than one third (35 percent) for meetings and events.
• For every dollar invested in business travel, businesses benefit from an average of $12.50 in increased revenue and $3.80 in new profits.
The travel industry is currently ranked as the No. 1 U.S. export (growing while export of goods fell during first quarter 2012) and represents 2.7 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Annual international arrivals in the U.S. at last measure numbered 59.7 million, including 26.4 million from overseas markets. One third of those visitors are from Canada or Mexico.
Disney cruises aside, this is very much a small business industry. Ninety-nine percent of travel and tourism industry firms are small to medium sized businesses with 500 or fewer employees. One out of nine U. S. jobs is linked to travel and tourism, ranking the industry at five of the top 10 private industry employers.
The industry is leading the way to economic recovery. The World Travel and Tourism Council has advised member nations to use the industry to advantage by adopting “smart policies” for visas and in other areas to encourage tourism as a stimulus for job growth.
Sources of direct travel spending in U.S.:
$188.7 billion: Food services
$140 billion: Public transportation
$136.3 billion: Lodging
$129 billion: Auto transportation
$83.4 billion: Recreation/amusement
$81.4 billion: Retail
(Total $758.7 billion in 2010)
Source: U.S. Travel Association
Filed Under: Monthly Focus
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