Tourism has become the largest industry worldwide in terms of employment and share of gross domestic product. Global Travel & Tourism continues to grow in spite of the continuing economic challenges. Tourism’s direct contribution to GDP in 2011 was US$2 trillion and the industry generated 98 million jobs.
Tourism is one of America’s largest employers with 7.4 million direct travel-generated jobs. In 2010, domestic and international travelers spent $758.7 billion in the U.S., an increase of 7.7 percent over 2009. Total tourism-related employment was 14.1 million in 2010 which indicates that one in nine U.S. non-farm jobs are directly and indirectly relying on the travel and tourism.  Direct spending on leisure travel in the United States by domestic and international travelers totaled $526 billion in 2010, and generated $82 million in tax revenue and 5.2 million jobs. International travel spending (export receipts) totaled $134 billion with 59.7 million arrivals to the United States and supported about 931,000 jobs with wages of $24.7 billion during 2010.
Recently released 2011 figures show international visitation to the U.S. set a new record with 62 million visitors, a 4% increase over 2010. Overseas resident visits (28 million) were up 6% compared to 2010, creating a new record level of overseas visits for the United States.