The travel and tourism sector grew more in 2018 than all other economic sectors but one, adding a record $8.8 trillion to the world’s combined Gross Domestic Product – up from $8.3 trillion in 2017 - as well as 319 million new jobs.
The larger manufacturing sector saw its contribution to global GDP grow 4% in 2018, only slightly ahead of the 3.9% growth of travel and tourism’s contribution to global GDP.
The travel and tourism sector’s growth performance, touted recently in numbers released by the World Travel & Tourism Council, highlights the size and growing importance of a sector that is not broadly understood by the public to be as big and as economically important as it actually is. Overall, travel and tourism generated 10.4% of the world’s total economic activity in 2018. That worldwide growth was greatly aided by rapid growth of travel and tourism in regions such as Oceania (Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Southwest Pacific islands), Southeast Asia, India and China.
The largest region in terms of travel and tourism economic impact last year was the similarly mature European market, which generated $2.2 trillion worth of travel and tourism-related economic activity. Northeast Asia, which includes China, ranked second with $2.1 trillion in travel and tourism-driven economic activity last year.
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