The travel industry employs 7.7 million Americans— one out of every eight non-farm jobs in the United States — and that number is likely to rise within the coming months. According to a forecast released by the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), 90,000 new travel industry jobs will become available in 2010. This follows the loss of an estimated 400,000 travel industry jobs in 2008 and 2009, combined.
“Following a difficult 2009, businesses have a heightened focus on the value and bottom-line benefits of travel,” stated Dr. Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research for USTA. “We expect to see a slight increase in business travel next year, based in part on pent-up demand for face-to-face meetings that drive growth and productivity.”
USTA expects leisure travel to increase by two percent in 2010 and domestic business travel to increase by two and a half percent, with a four percent increase in business travel spending. Inbound international travel is projected to rise by three percent.
To help boost the economy even further, USTA is suggesting the government put together a federal economic recovery plan to increase travel and create jobs. Among its suggestions are for the administration and members of Congress to encourage more U.S.-based meetings, events and incentives programs through tax deductions and other mechanisms; improve the visa and entry process for overseas travelers; and fund a next-generation air traffic control system to limit flight delays, cancellations and other negative experiences.
“The travel industry shares President Obama’s goal of putting Americans back to work,” stated Roger Dow, president and CEO of USTA. “Our industry is uniquely capable of adapting to economic upswings and quickly adding tens of thousands of jobs.”
USTA is a national, non-profit organization that represents all the components of the $770 billion travel industry. For more information visit ustravel.org.