Tourism is an important player in the worldwide economy: In 2009, it accounted for just over 9% of global GDP and employed about one in twelve workers, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
As a sector, international tourism has been growing at a slightly faster pace than the world economy. Despite the recession and the downturn in tourism numbers,
that trends looks likely to continue over the long-term. Employment in tourism is also growing relatively strongly: Between 2000 and 2007 in OECD countries, the growth rate for employment in hotels and restaurants was over 2% per year, more than a percentage point ahead of the total employment growth rate.
While France may lead the way in the number of international arrivals, when it comes to income from international tourism, the US is well ahead, with a value of $134 billion earned in goods and services sold to international visitors in 2008. That was well over double the level for France of about $55 billion. Travel and tourism accounted for nearly $1.4 trillion in total economic output for the US in 2008, and employed – directly and indirectly – one in 16 workers.