Direct and total contribution of travel and tourism to the global economy from 2006 to 2016 (in trillion U.S. dollars)

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This statistic shows the direct and total economic impact of travel and tourism on the global economy from 2006 to 2016. The direct economic contribution of travel and tourism amounted to approximately 2.31 trillion U.S. dollars in 2016. The direct travel & tourism contribution includes the commodities accommodation, transportation, entertainment and attractions of these industries: Accommodation services, food & beverage services, retail trade, transportation services and cultural, sports & recreational services. The figures for total impact also include indirect and induced contributions.

Global travel & tourism industry - additional information

In recent years, the travel and tourism industry has contributed around seven trillion U.S. dollars to the global economy annually, nearing eight trillion in 2016. A highly profitable and valuable industry to the global economy, travel and tourism makes a direct economic impact of more than two trillion U.S. dollars each year. North America makes the largest contribution in this area, closely followed by the European Union and North East Asia. Due to their less developed tourism industries, regions such as North and Sub Saharan Africa make a much smaller impact.

However, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), some of the fastest-emerging tourism destinations can be found in Africa, including Namibia, Zambia and Angola. This is perhaps due to the realization of the benefits travel and tourism can provide for a country’s economy, or maybe because of the growing popularity of less-traveled destinations among global tourists. This is not to say travelers are not still visiting well-established tourism destinations in their millions – the number of overseas visitors to the United States, for example, is still increasing each year and is expected to exceed 40 million by 2018.

Travel and tourism’s economic contribution is the U.S. reflects the country’s growing visitor numbers. It was estimated to be about 1.51 trillion U.S. dollars in 2016. That said, the vast majority of travel and tourism’s contribution to GDP comes from domestic travelers. In 2017, 17 percent of Americans said that they find Las Vegas to be one of the most attractive domestic destinations for a spring vacation in the U.S.

More statistics and facts on global tourism, the Chinese tourism industry, the cruise industry and hotels.
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Release date
March 2017
Survey time period
2006 to 2016
Supplementary notes
Figures have been rounded.

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