Over 14 million jobs globally are at risk in the tourism industry, if governments and private sector companies do not act now to address the talent shortage in the industry. Research conducted for the World Travel & Tourism Council by Oxford Economics shows that the industry could employ 14 million fewer people and contribute $610 billion less in GDP to the world economy over the next ten years, when compared to accepted growth forecasts, if government and private companies fail to implement policies which promote proactive and careful talent management.

Tourism currently sustains 266 million jobs, once the indirect and induced impacts are taken into consideration, a figure projected to rise to 347 million by 2024.
Similarly, the industry contributed nearly $7 trillion to the global economy in 2014; which is forecast to rise to $11 trillion by 2024. The research, for the first time, quantifies the sheer scale of the human resource challenge in tourism and the potential impact of the skill shortage on the 2024 projections, which are the equivalent of lowering the level of global total tourism employment by four per cent compared to the baseline projected level in 2024.

The research looked at 46 countries, which together account for over 80 per cent of the world’s tourism employment and GDP, and assessed how well placed these countries are to create the right ‘enabling’ environment to develop this talent over the next ten years. It shows that there is a serious shortage of the right people, in the right place, with the right skills, to meet the growth of tourism over the next ten years. This research warns of serious potential economic cost over the next ten years.