Future of Travel Industry Employment

Trump’s stated aim to create 25 million new jobs in the U.S. is something all Americans can get behind. Though that won’t happen overnight, Trump’s other stated goal of repairing America’s infrastructure will undoubtedly help increase job opportunities. However, the need for workers won’t just stop at road and airport repair projects—enhancing America’s infrastructure will also monumentally impact the travel industry.

Travel already plays a pivotal role in the U.S. economy, creating 1 in 9 private sector jobs, and generating $2.1 trillion in output for the economy in 2015.Making travel more convenient and safe through infrastructure improvements will increase visitation to and within the U.S., and ultimately create the need for more travel and tourism-related jobs.

At a recent congressional hearing on the hill discussing the future of TSA, U.S. Travel’s President and CEO Roger Dow testified that Americans would likely take two to three more trips per year if long security lines and other airport screening hassles were reduced. This in turn would generate an additional 85 billion dollars for the U.S. economy, which would allow for the creation of 880,000 new jobs.

In, The Power of Travel Promotion, David Huether, senior vice president for research at U.S. Travel, notes the travel industry is approaching its 8th straight year of expansion. As travel to and within the United States increases, so does the demand for travel-related jobs to accommodate the surge in visitation. Since 2010, travel-generated employment has continued to increase, expanding 18% faster than the rest of the economy and creating a total of 972,000 jobs through mid-2016.

Unlike sectors like manufacturing, person-to-person connections are key in the hospitality industry. Interpersonal interactions are part of what travelers look forward to experiencing while on a trip, and these jobs cannot be outsourced or automated. Hotels, restaurants, airports and attractions will need dedicated, friendly employees to be the face of an industry that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

No matter what political party is in charge, travel and tourism plays essential role in the U.S. economy. Investing in infrastructure enhancements and travel promotion will help the U.S. work towards its international visitation goals, in particular, through 2017 and beyond. With increased visitation comes increased employment in the travel industry and surrounding industries, creating a ripple effect for economic expansion. A top-10 employer in 49 states and the District of Columbia, travel will continue to create jobs and strengthen the nation as long as cities and states invest in the industry and foster its growth.