Study: Travel, Tourism Dwarf Auto Industry in the Americas

Travel and tourism in the Americas region is three times the size of automotive manufacturing and roughly one-third larger than chemicals manufacturing and mining, according to new research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), released earlier this month at WTTC's first Regional Summit of the Americas in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

The research — performed for WTTC by Oxford Economics, which studied travel and tourism in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil and Argentina — shows that travel and tourism makes a direct contribution of $666 billion to GDP in the Americas. Its total contribution is $1.9 trillion, or 8.6 percent of total GDP. This compares to 6 percent for automotive and mining and 7 percent for chemicals. What's more, its contribution is expected to grow at a rate of 3.6 percent over the next 10 years, compared to 1.5 percent in mining, 2 percent in education, 2.5 percent in chemicals and 3.4 percent in financial services.

"These numbers are extremely significant," said WTTC President and CEO David Scowsill. "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."

Travel and tourism also leads other sectors in job creation: The industry has 15 million direct employees in the Americas. Mining, automotive and financial services, meanwhile, have 2.5 million, 4 million and 10 million, respectively.

"These figures prove that it is time that the governments really sit up and take notice of the travel and tourism industry," Scowsill continued. "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."