5 Travel Industry Facts You Need to Know in 2020

đź•’ 5 min.

Travel is one of the most dynamic industries. There are many moving pieces of the travel industry puzzle, and each one affects its expansion, growth rate, and revenue. All these factors, such as supply and demand, availability of transportation, economy, and technology, are subject to changes.

It makes tracking and learning travel industry statistics very important. What may appear as a trend today can easily become obsolete tomorrow. However, staying on top of the travel industry stats is challenging. There are too many resources to keep tabs on. That’s why we are here. Below you’ll find five travel industry facts your need to know in 2020.

Is travel the largest industry in the world?

What does “the largest mean”? There are a few stats that define the size of a specific industry. To be able to answer this question, we have to approach it from two different angles. Let’s refine the initial question into two more specific ones: “Is travel the largest industry in the world by revenue?” and “Is travel the largest industry in the world by employment?”.

Suppose we take revenue, or market size, as a factor travel industry is definitely not the world’s largest industry. At least not in 2020. According to IBISWorld experts’ analysis, the global tourism industry is ranked 10th on the list of the 10 global biggest industries by revenue.

However, if we rank the industry’s size by employment, the travel industry comes in as the first one. The same source lists global hotels & resorts and international tourism among the first five biggest industries by employment in 2020.

Yes, the travel industry is the largest industry globally by employment, to answer the initial question. On the other hand, it is not the largest industry by market size and revenue in 2020. One of the main reasons for this is the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic. The projections tell us the coronavirus will cost the global tourism industry at least $1.2 trillion in 2020.

How big is the travel industry?

While it is not the biggest, the travel industry market size in 2020 is substantial, given the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Statista, it’s market size is projected to reach $348,867m in 2020. That’s quite a considerable drop when compared to the past couple of years.

For instance, this sector’s revenue for the years 2017, 2018, and 2019 was 688,559m, 713,070m, and 738,879, respectively. The decrease in revenue of more than 50% affected all segments of the travel industry. Not all the industry’s segments delivered the same performance.

The largest travel industry’s segment is hotels. It’s projected to contribute $198,643m to overall market volume in 2020. Package Holidays fall in second with $93,501m, followed by Vacation Rentals with revenue of $48,937m and Cruises with revenue of $7,785m.

The travel industry’s US segment is expected to generate the most revenue in 2020 – $65,249m. China and Germany are the second and third largest travel & tourism markets with revenues of $53,295m and $29,195m.

Is the travel industry growing?

According to the Satista research, the travel industry shows a trend in the annual growth rate. The situation remained the same over the last couple of years, with a yearly growth rate of approximately 5%. However, in 2020 the market plummeted by more than 50% because of the COVID-19 pandemic and leisure travel ban.

The new situation called for new projections. It appears that the market is going to recuperate. The revenue is expected to grow again. More precisely, it is expected to show an annual growth rate of 21.1%.

The projected market volume for 2021 is $539,936m. The market is expected to show the same annual growth rate until 2025 when it’s expected to reach the market volume of $909,235m. It tells us that the travel industry continues to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.

Why is the tourism industry one of the fastest-growing industries in the world?

As one of the fastest-growing industries globally, the tourism industry contributes to a higher GDP world-wide. Why is this so? Several factors are driving the growth of this sector.

First of all, we have to take into account a growing number of new destinations. People now have access to more locations to visit and spend time in than ever. From a business perspective, that’s a huge factor. It simply means that the number of products has significantly increased, thus catering to the specific needs of more people.

We also have to take into account other verticals. The number of international companies, businesses, meetings, and conferences is increasing. For instance, European business travel accounts for quite a substantial sum, which has also led to travel industry growth. Medical tourism also became a thing, with many people traveling to get access to affordable medical services.

Finally, many countries have recognized travel & tourism as a profitable industry. Hundreds of countries are continuously investing in making destinations more attractive and affordable.

While these are the main factors, it barely scratches all the factors that drive the tourism industry growth rate.

Why is tourism called an industry?

Tourism is called an industry for a variety of reasons. It has all the characteristics of an industry – generates revenue, employs people, and has an easily definable field and scope of work.

It employs tens of millions of people, but it’s also intertwined with many different sectors. For instance, travel & tourism drives growth in travel insurance, transportation, hospitality, and food industries.

Finally, many countries are reliant on the travel & tourism industry, which is perfectly depicted by the infographics on this link. Tourism contribution to these countries’ GDP is so significant that fluctuations can seriously affect their economy. For instance, in Mexico, tourism represents 15.5% of its GDP, followed by Spain, representing 14.3%, and Italy with 13%.

These are the most important travel industry facts you should know in 2020. As you can see, while the sector took the blow from the coronavirus, it will go back to its feet the following year. It’s one of the largest and fastest-growing industries, and there’s nothing to suggest that it won’t continue to be.

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