by Matt Alderton | October 17, 2017
In North America's top travel destinations, tourism can drive up to a third of all employment and up to half of gross domestic product (GDP), finds a new study published last week by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
Titled "North America City Travel & Tourism Impact," the study analyzes the economic impact of travel and tourism in 11 major tourism destinations across the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Among the cities studied, Cancún, Las Vegas, and Honolulu have the most tourism-related employment, with 39 percent, 21 percent, and 18 percent of jobs, respectively, owed to tourism.

Tourism-related GDP likewise was largest in Cancún and Las Vegas -- constituting 49 percent and 18.2 percent of total GDP, respectively -- with Orlando rounding out the top three at 18.1 percent of total GDP.

Measured in dollars, tourism's economic impact is largest in New York, Orlando, and Las Vegas, pumping $23.7 billion, $23 billion, and $19.5 billion, respectively, into the local economy on an annual basis.

Tourism in cities also has a national impact, WTTC found. Mexico City, for example, generates more than a quarter of Mexico's travel- and tourism-related GDP. Toronto likewise generates 16 percent of Canada's travel- and tourism-related GDP. And collectively, New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Washington, DC, generate 20 percent of the United States' travel- and tourism-related GDP.

Said WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara: "This study is hugely important as it quantifies for the first time just how vital [the] travel and tourism sector is to city economies and job creation, and helps highlight to the authorities and the private sector the importance of sustainable investment in travel and tourism. The report reflects the importance of planning for a successful destination. Developing visitor attractions and other tourism infrastructure drives travel and tourism and therefore brings city growth and benefits to citizens and visitors. With the growing numbers of travelers and connectivity to cities increasing it is important cities look at dispersing visitors across the cities and beyond."

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