Tourism: 272 million Jobs World-Wide

Tourism: 272 million Jobs World-Wide
June 16, 2015 Bradley Cox

WolfgangGuest Column by

Dr.Wolfgang Weinz, Senior Technical Specialist Hotels, Catering, Tourism
Sectoral Policies Department, International Labour Office

Tourism is an important driving force of socio-economic development, with significant potential to enhance export revenues; stimulate enterprise, investment, and job creation; facilitate the development of infrastructure and public services; and, promote social cohesion.

As a labour-intensive sector, tourism accounts for more than 272 million jobs, about 9.0 per cent of the overall number of jobs (direct and indirect). It is estimated that one job in the core tourism industry indirectly generates 15 additional jobs in the related economy through linkages with such sectors as construction, agriculture, fishing, food processing, furniture manufacturing, handicrafts, media and entertainment, transport, utilities and services, including energy and telecommunications.

On the other side, tourism sector is characterized by diversity, complexity, inter-linkage and fragmentation in terms of employment relations. Various forms of employment – part-time, temporary, casual or seasonal – are common in this industry and this has important implications for human resource development. Many jobs are often characterized by serious decent work deficits, including long working hours and comparatively low pay; while the boundaries between formal and informal economies within this sector, too, are often fluid.

For the ILO, sustainable tourism is composed of three pillars: social justice, economic development, and environmental integrity. It is committed to generate income and decent employment for workers without affecting the environment and culture of the tourist destination and to ensure the viability and competitiveness of destinations and enterprises to enable them to continue to prosper and deliver benefits in the long term.

Decent work is key to promoting sustainable tourism and thereby ensuring its positive contribution to economic development and poverty reduction. ILO provides technical support to member States and social partners to promote poverty reduction through tourism. This through the implementation of the Toolkit for Poverty Reduction through Tourism, value chain, and skills development programmes, as well as initiatives focusing on the promotion of social dialogue, OSH and SMEs.