The 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.
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.
Tourism’s total contribution to GDP in the Americas was US$1.9trillion in 2011, or 8.6 per cent of total GDP.
This compares to 6% for automotive and mining and seven per cent for chemicals.
With 15 million direct employees in the Americas, tourism is one of the leading employers in the region, surpassing the job creation of mining (2.5m), chemicals manufacturing (2.5m), automotive (4m) and financial services (10m).
The new research also showed that tourism’s contribution to GDP is faster than most other sectors in the Americas.
It will grow by 3.6 per cent over the next ten years, a faster growth rate than mining (1.5 per cent), Education (two per cent), chemicals (2.5 per cent) and financial services (3.4 per cent).
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.”