Travel and tourism in the Americas contributes more to GDP than automotive manufacturing

Monday 21, May 2012


Travel and tourism in the Americas contributes more to GDP than automotive manufacturing


The travel and tourism 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) sponsored by American Express, launched on the first day of WTTC’s first Regional Summit of the Americas in the Riviera Maya, Mexico, from May 16-18.

The research, undertaken by Oxford Economics, shows that 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. 

Travel and 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 and tourism is one of the leading employers in the region, surpassing the job creation of mining (2.5 m), chemicals manufacturing (2.5 m), automotive (4 m), and financial services (10 m).The new research also showed that travel and tourism’s contribution to GDP is faster than most other sectors in the Americas. It will grow by 3.6 percent over the next 10 years, a faster growth rate than mining (1.5 percent), education (2 percent), chemicals (2.5 percent), and financial services (3.4 percent). 

As the Americas Summit in the Riviera Maya commences, the research highlights the importance of travel and tourism in Mexico in terms of generating income and GDP in economies. It shows that travel and tourism spend is more powerful than most other sectors. 

For example, in Mexico, every US$1 million spent on travel and 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, 20 times that of mining and 6 times that of the financial services sector. 

The story in other countries across the region is similar. The study looked at the United States, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil, and Argentina, as well as Mexico. 
Across all countries US$1 million in travel and tourism spend 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. 

David Scowsill, President and CEO, WTTC, said: “These numbers are extremely significant. For over 20 years, the World Travel&Tourism Council has spearheaded global and regional analysis of the economic impact of travel and tourism. WTTC has now taken this research one step further and assessed the role travel and tourism plays in the economy of the Americas in comparison to other economic sectors and also how this looks like on a regional level.
“The results are extraordinary. Within our industry, we have always known that travel and 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.

“These figures prove that it is time that the governments really sit up and take notice of the travel and 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.”

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."

At WTTC’s Global Summit in Tokyo in April, WTTC’s research revealed that travel and 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 and 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.
To download the full report click here (PDF)



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