Travel in the Americas Bigger Than Auto Manufacturing

The economic contribution and potential of the travel and tourism industry has been underscored by new research that shows the industry in the Americas region is three times the size of automotive manufacturing and roughly one-third larger than chemicals manufacturing and mining. This is according to new research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The sector’s direct contribution to the Americas GDP is US$666 billion which is more than three times the GDP of automotive manufacturing and one-third larger than the global chemicals and mining industry, the study says. Sponsored by American Express the research was undertaken by Oxford Economics. The study looked at the United States, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.

Travel & Tourism’s total contribution to GDP in the Americas was US$1.9trillion in 2011, or 8.6 percent of total GDP. This compares to 6 percent for automotive and mining and 7 percent for chemicals.

With 15 million direct employees in the Americas, Travel & Tourism is one of the leading employers in the region, surpassing the job creation of mining (2.5m), chemicals manufacturing (2.5m), automotive (4m) and financial services (10m).

The new research also shows that Travel & Tourism’s contribution to GDP is faster than most other sectors in the Americas. It will grow by 3.6 percent over the next ten years, a faster growth rate than mining (1.5 percent), Education (2 percent), chemicals (2.5 percent) and financial services (3.4 percent).

The research also highlights the importance of Travel & Tourism in Mexico in terms of generating income and GDP in economies. It shows that Travel & Tourism spending is more powerful than most other sectors, WTTC says.

For example in Mexico, every US$1 million spent on Travel & Tourism generates a further US$1.5 million to the economy as a whole, and 66 jobs (compared to an average of 42 for all sectors). The industry generates more jobs than all other sectors considered - double that of the automotive industry, twenty times that of mining and six times that of the financial services sector.

Across all countries US$1 million in Travel & Tourism spending generates more jobs than the average of all sectors, and consistently generates more in terms of GDP than sectors such as automotive manufacturing, mining and chemicals manufacturing.

“These numbers are extremely significant. For over twenty years, the World Travel & Tourism Council has spearheaded global and regional 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 economy of the Americas in comparison to other economic sectors and also how this looks like on a regional level," David Scowsill, president and CEO, WTTC said.

"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 our industry is for the Americas region," Scowsill said.

"These figures prove that it is time that the 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 and especially in the Americas as shown by this study," Scowsill said.

Bill Glenn, president, global corporate payments and business travel, American Express said: 
"With each release of regional data from the latest WTTC research, we continue to see the value that travel can bring to GDP, job creation and other economic factors. We are pleased to sponsor this research and provide the industry with another valuable asset to use to promote the benefits of travel."

The WTTC said that its research revealed that Travel & Tourism’s direct contribution to world GDP of US$2 trillion (2.8 percent) 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.


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