Travel Industry, Travel Sector, Travel Trade

June 29, 2010Travel and Tourism Industryby EconomyWatch


The travel industry caters to recreational, leisure and business travelers. According to the World Tourism Organization, the travel industry generated revenues of US$856 billion in 2007.

The travel sector covers the following services:

  • Transportation services (such as cruise ships, airlines and taxis)


  • Hospitality services (including accommodation in hotels and resorts)


  • Entertainment services (in casinos, amusement parks, shopping malls and the theatre)

    Travel Industry: Major Players

    The most popular travel destinations include:

    Country International tourist arrivals (in millions) - 2007 figures
    France 81.9
    Spain 59.2
    US 56.0
    China 54.7

    Travel Industry: Forms of Travel

    The major forms of travel include:

    • Ship travel: Sea travel has largely been replaced by faster means of travel, such as automobiles and airplanes. However, it is still used for short trips (ferries) and leisure cruises. The largest cruise ships in the world include three ships of the ‘Freedom Class’ owned by Royal Caribbean International. Popular destinations for sea travel are the Caribbean and North America.
    • Air travel: It is the most popular form of international travel, due to its speed and coverage. Some of the busiest airports of the world are Los Angeles International Airport (the US), Heathrow Airport (the UK) and Frankfurt International Airport (Germany).
    • Rail travel: The popular forms of rail travel include inter-city trains, rapid transit (metro rail) and high speed long distance trains. Rail travel is generally restricted to domestic territory. However, it is permitted across some countries in Europe. Countries with the largest rail travel density are China, India, Japan and Russia.
    • Road travel: It is the most popular form of travel and includes various modes such as personal automobiles, buses and taxis. The busiest road in the world is Highway 401 (Ontario, Canada).

    Travel Sector: Related Industries

    The travel sector includes the following industries:

    • Tourism Industry: The global tourism industry is a multi-million dollar industry. It contributes approximately 10% of the world GDP. The industry began booming with increasing affordability of overseas travel.
    • Hospitality Industry: It includes services provided by the tourism and food sectors. This industry is highly prone to economic fluctuations. It can be broadly classified into entertainment and accommodation.
    • Aviation Industry: The global aviation industry generated revenues of approximately $430 billion catering to more than 2,000 million passengers in 2007.
    • Shipping Industry: It involves the transportation of goods (cargo) through designated sea routes. The global shipping industry is regulated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). It is considered a catalyst for economic development, as it accounts for approximately 90% of world trade.
    • Shipbuilding Industry: It involves the construction and modification of ships, in specialized facilities called shipyards. The industry supports trade, employment and other ancillary services and is worth over $100 billion (Bloomberg report, December 2006).
    • Transportation Industry: This industry includes the provision of transport and related services through a wide range of modes. The industry is vital for economic development, as it aids in the production and distribution of goods and services.
    • Logistics Industry: It involves the delivery of freight. This industry is governed by various factors such as technology, legislation, globalization and confederations. According to industry reports, revenues of the logistics industry were approximately US$910 billion in 2002.


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