Travel and tourism
The travel industry is the world's largest industry, exceeding $6.2 trillion in gross output (World Travel and Tourism Council [WTTC] 2005). Reports from the WTTC indicate that tourism employs over 221 million people worldwide, or approximately 8.3 percent of the global workforce. The emergence of travel as a significant economic activity began after World War II, as travel became widely accessible to the general population. As shown in Table 1, very few people traveled internationally in 1950 as measured by today's standards. Yet, from 1950 to 1970, international travel exploded, increasing by more than 550 percent. This growth in international travel continued through the 1980s and 1990s to reach over 763 million visitor arrivals in 2004, representing over $623 billion (U.S. dollars) in international tourism receipts. Since 1990, international travel has increased over 70 percent, and for a number of countries it has grown to be their largest commodity in international trade. Indeed, the travel industry now serves as one of the top three industries for almost every country worlwide (Goeldner and Ritchie 2002).