Tag: tourism economic growth

Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries. According to WTTC, tourism prior to the pandemic accounted for 1 in 4 of all new jobs created across the world, 10.3% of all jobs (333 million), and 10.3% of the global GDP (US $9.6 trillion). Taking the above statistics into consideration, we can conclude that the sector contributes significantly to the economies and employment, being one of the main economic engines for nations. But how is it exactly possible that tourism creates so many jobs?

This article explores all the different employment opportunities tourism provides, explains why they are so important for the industry, and presents some of the challenges in the current workforce stemming mostly from the COVID-19 pandemic:

restaurant workers like these speciality coffee makers contribute meaningfully to the tourism industry

What are the employment opportunities in tourism?

Tourism can provide diversified employment in many different sectors, as the travel industry comprises various activities and services that create an overall tourist experience. Industries within the tourism value chain include accommodation, transport, food and beverage services, entertainment, and many more. Just think of your recent vacation – you first hopped on a plane, booked a hotel, and during your stay, you ate in different restaurants, went to different shops, and maybe even participated in local events. All the above aspects are part of the tourism industry, because you got involved in them as a tourist. 

The employment opportunities in tourism can be divided into those created directly or indirectly. This is because the tourism value chain is exceptionally vast and creates further employment impacts, which are not necessarily limited to tourism. 

man commands river boat, connected to tourism industry

Direct employment in tourism

All jobs where employees are involved in the creation of a direct tourism output fall under the category of direct tourism employment. Examples include hotels, airlines, travel agencies, tour operators, museums, national parks, state parks, cruise lines… and the list goes on. What these industries have in common is their sole focus on tourism – they operate for tourists, and because of tourists.  

Accommodation and transport activities are the most vital and integral ones in the tourism industry. They provide a base from which people can start their travel journey. Within the accommodation sector, there are multiple different types of lodging, ranging from hotels, hostels, B&B’s, or guesthouses. These can be either individually or family-owned, but also belong to the multi-chain operators. Therefore, employment opportunities are endless, as each accommodation type requires both high-skilled and low-skilled workers – from managers, and finance operators, to the housekeeping and cooking team. 

flight attendant connected to tourism industry


Indirect employment in tourism

According to the UNWTO report, “one job in the core tourism industry creates about one and a half additional (indirect) jobs in the tourism-related economy”. Moreover, “there are three workers indirectly dependent on each person working in hotels, such as travel agency staff, guides, taxi and bus drivers, food and beverage suppliers, laundry workers, textile workers, gardeners, shop staff for souvenirs and others, as well as airport employees”. 

Tourism is an extraordinarily labor-intensive industry. Each direct tourism provider carries several different suppliers crucial for the efficient operation of that provider. Some of the examples of indirect employment opportunities that tourism supports are restaurant suppliers, marketing agencies, accounting services, manufacturers, or souvenir producers. They may not be exclusively linked to tourism, but they are essential for its success. Therefore, these types of jobs are also considered part of the tourism industry – just behind the scenes. And when they all add up together, there’s no wonder why tourism holds such a great power to generate employment!

supermarket supplier indirectly connected to tourism

The importance of tourism in providing employment opportunities 

Anyone can start working in tourism

In terms of employment opportunities, tourism is a great industry for anyone starting their career journey. There are many roles that do not require any specific qualifications and are relatively easy to get into – for example in hospitality. This is especially important for young people seeking a part-time job alongside school or university, migrant workers, women, minority groups, and many more. 

People are at the heart of the tourism industry

Given that tourism is such a vast and diverse industry, it can attract people from different backgrounds. Tourism relies on its exceptionally skilled workforce in order to provide high-quality services and experiences to visitors. Therefore, recruiting suitable staff should be at the heart of each tourism business. Tourists’ experiences are highly dependent on the service they are provided, so fostering relationships between human resources and the tourism industry is crucial.

local guide tourism employment

Connecting with local people during travels

Tourism is a tool for poverty alleviation

Tourism can also be a fantastic tool for poverty alleviation, which is especially important in underdeveloped countries. The industry has a great potential to generate direct income for the poor in the places they live. Many tourism businesses are owned by individuals and their families, which in turn enables deeper interactions between guests and host communities. These small-scale businesses often include guesthouses and restaurants as they often do not require much capital to invest into. Therefore, many communities can start making their living through tourism.

One of the greatest examples of how travel connects locals and visitors is ResiRest – a social enterprise that works as an impact connector between local families and travelers. This organization links local home-cooks to international visitors for a unique and authentic food experience. “Eating local” is a fantastic way not only to support local communities, but also allows for more enriching and memorable experiences during travels. And what better way to immerse in a different culture than by trying local food?  

Solimar is also involved in projects that facilitate revenue generation for the host communities – Artisan Development in Morocco is one of many examples. This project aimed to create direct linkages between local artisans and buyers, while decreasing the use of middlemen in sales of the crafts!

Current challenges in the tourism workforce

Although tourism is such a powerful industry for generating employment, it is currently facing significant challenges due to staff shortages. Resolving this issue is essential for tourism’s growth and bouncing back after the Covid-19 pandemic. Travel restrictions made a number of employees move into different industries – therefore, tourism must now compete with other sectors in order to attract new workers. Other contributing factors include the lack of migrant workers, whose number started shrinking dramatically in 2020. For example, when Brexit was introduced in the UK, many people decided to return to their home countries. This has resulted in the lack of a suitable workforce in many industries, not only tourism.

How can we ensure sustainability in the tourism workforce?

In order to attract new talent to the industry, tourism must implement various incentives and re-evaluate its human resources practices. This could be achieved by providing extensive training opportunities to enable people to work their way up in a company. Next, tourism must facilitate flexible and remote work opportunities. This should be executed not only for the employees’ convenience, but also as a way to overcome travel mobility restrictions. Utilizing digital technologies is a great step towards ensuring productive tourism operations as well.

Tourism truly is a one-of-a-kind industry, providing countless opportunities that can really make a positive impact on our society. If done the right way, tourism can be the most viable option for sustainable economic development. Therefore, considering a career journey in this industry leads to fantastic and rewarding opportunities.  

Interested in working with us? Learn more about our virtual internship opportunities here!

livingstone aerial shot with river

What exactly is Sustainable Tourism, and why should I care?

According to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, sustainable tourism is the practice of acknowledging the impacts of tourism, both good and bad, to minimize environmental and economic damage while spurring job creation along with cultural and wildlife preservation. Here at Solimar International, we help destinations create a culture of sustainable economic growth, social inclusiveness, and the preservation of environmental, cultural and natural heritage. When discussing culture, it’s important to emphasize the roots of a destination, both big and small. Small towns in the United States are the backbone of American culture, and often have so much more to offer than meets the eye. Supporting the local economy of these areas allows for their cultures to be sustained and brought to light in a new way. As a traveler, you have so much power to effect positive change through the destinations you choose. One example is Livingston, Montana. In this blog, we’ll tell you why supporting towns like Livingston, Montana is the future of sustainable tourism.

The Last Best Place, and Why it Deserves the Nickname

Montana is the Future of Sustainable Tourism
Tourists skiing in Montana

Big Sky County with Big Opportunity

The state of Montana, often referred to as “The Last Best Place”, can be categorized this way for a few key reasons. One, the state is home to 10 national parks, most notably Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, and The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Montana is known for its vast landscapes and serene atmosphere that create a sense of tranquility that is hard to emulate. Montana is the perfect year round destination with fantastic winter activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, and dogsledding, as well as summer activities such as hiking, fly-fishing, and horseback riding. Fly-fishing in Montana is world renowned for its top quality outfitters and Trout specimens along the Yellowstone River, while Big Sky is home to the biggest skiing runs in America. Out-of-state tourism generated $2.60 billion to the Montana economy in the year 2020, with the in-state revenue bringing the total to a combined $4.4 billion. Since tourism is one of the largest economic sectors in the state, it is vital to use this momentum to propel counties forward that otherwise may not see an equal share of tourists to their neighbors. 

Benefiting the Small Town

The town of Livingston has a poverty rate of 14.5%, compared to the national average of 11.4%. Many factors have led to this statistic, including seasonal occupations, lack of job creation, and marketing short comings. Small towns like this could benefit greatly from economic growth through tourism, and Montana already has the infrastructure set up. At Solimar International, we recognize the gap between what these areas can offer, and what is being projected to the general public. We work to close that gap by offering an extensive marketing plan to highlight what makes a destination unique. We work closely with the local job force to create a DMO (destination management organization), which aligns with the cultural and historical values of the area. 

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Experience in Montana

Solimar’s involvement with the Lewis and Clark Trail

At Solimar International, we are currently working to promote the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail through the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Experience. In partnership with the National Park Service, this website promotes sustainable tourism and cultural education through 16 different states. The website offers an interactive map highlighting different places to stay, historical sights, and activities along the trail. The site aims to educate travelers about the cultural heritage of the land, while also highlighting areas that may otherwise not get the same level of visibility. In Montana, for example, there are seven tribal territories, with the Lewis and Clark trail going through many of them. The website offers a great opportunity for visitors to learn more about Indian reservations, while also directly supporting their economy. Overall, in Montana there are 40 counties located on the Lewis and Clark Trail. All 40 counties offer unique experiences, but one in particular that stands out is Park County, home of Livingston. 

Why Livingston, Montana Should be Your Next Stop

Montana is the Future of Sustainable Tourism
View point of Yellowstone River in Montana

Outdoor Activities in the Wild, Wild West

Livingston is a small town located within scenic Park County. The town is along many visitors’ paths to Yellowstone National Park, making it a convenient destination. Tourism has been a tremendous driver recently in their economic growth, and they continue to capitalize on this momentum.  Livingston is home to world-class fly-fishing as it runs adjacent to the Yellowstone River. The river is world-famous for its fly-fishing, and is a tourism driver within itself. The Yellowstone River runs for 103 miles, all being designated blue ribbon fishing, meaning it qualifies as an extremely high-quality fishery. Fishing in Montana can often be described as “therapeutic”, as many who try it are hooked for life. Another outdoor activity common to the area is white water rafting. With many top-rated outfitters, rafting guarantees a thrilling experience for the whole family. Lastly, Montana is known for its “cowboy culture”, which certainly is in abundance in Livingston. Horseback riding adventures are offered daily, providing a unique experience to all riding levels. 

Entertainment and Museums in the Wild Wild West

classic small town settings in Montana
An image of town life in Montana from the 20th century

Livingston has so much more to offer than just outdoor activities. From museums to shopping and everything in between, there is something for everyone. The Livingston Depot Center, now a museum, was initially the first railroad launch point for Yellowstone National Park. It is now used as a cultural landmark to educate visitors about the history of the Yellowstone region and the animals that reside in it. Another museum is the Yellowstone Gateway Museum, commemorated as a part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. This museum houses geological and historical artifacts. Famous local eateries include Mark’s In & Out, a 1950’s burger joint, and Yellowstone Valley Grill, an upscale farm to table restaurant. The most notable place to stay in town is the Murray Hotel. The hotel is the oldest in town, built in 1904 as accommodation for railway passengers. Some of the more notable visitors have included Whoopi Goldberg, The Queen of Denmark, and Will Rogers. 

We constantly want to create connections between travelers and the path to making an impact. If you want to learn more about sustainable tourism, and how it directly impacts the communities around you, visit our Institute for Sustainable Destinations website today. We’re also always happy to have a personalized conversation to discuss strategic planning. Contact us to learn more.

“We rely confidently on Solimar's deep technical experience and professionalism as tourism consultants. You always are exceeding our expectations.”
Leila Calnan, Senior Manager, Tourism Services Cardno Emerging Markets

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