Careers in travel and tourism are taking off

Travel jobs are on the rise, and hiring in the industry is only expected to increase.

Travel and tourism jobs in the U.S. are taking off. From 2010 to 2018, travel jobs increased 22% compared to only 17% of jobs in the rest of the private sector, according to a recent report from the U.S. Travel Association. In addition, as of last year, domestic and international travelers in the U.S. supported a whopping 8.9 million American jobs, and hiring in the industry is only expected to increase.

A 2018 PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP survey of members of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) found that more than half (58%) of U.S. tour operators plan to increase staff this year, with one-third projecting as many as 11 to 25 new hires.

So, what do all these numbers mean for travel jobs today, the future of the industry, and job seekers? Monster spoke to David Huether, senior vice president for research at the U.S. Travel Association, for insights.

Sectors with the fastest job growth

Though travel and tourism jobs are growing across the industry as a whole, there are a few concentration areas where it’s happening remarkably quickly. “The areas with the biggest job growth within the past year have been in food services and recreation and amusement,Huether says.Those sectors] accounted for about 70% of the growth in travel industry employment.

Hotel jobs are also on the rise, with spending on lodging increasing from both leisure and business travelers year over year. And, as ecotourism becomes more popular, sustainable tourism jobs will rise as well in fact, 71% of global travelers said they think travel companies should offer more sustainable travel choices, Sustainable Travel Report found.

Where travel jobs are booming

Travel employment increased in all 50 states (and in Washington, D.C) from 2010 to 2017, the U.S. Travel Association reports. Unsurprisingly, the largest job increases were in California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Nevada, which are all large states,says Huether. The industry’s job growth is also increasing rapidly in Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and Washington.These smaller states are often building from a smaller base of travel jobs, so they’re going to have high job growth rates,Huether explains.

What’s fueling the job growth

A few key factors are powering travel and tourism job growth.If you take a big step back, the general health of the U.S. economy and the increase in consumer spending is helping the travel industry a lot, Huether says. Case in point: From 2009 to 2017, U.S. hotel gross spending grew from $116 billion to $185 billion, and airline revenue jumped from $155 billion to $222 billion, according to Deloitte’s 2019 U.S. Travel and Hospitality Outlook.

Small businesses within the travel and tourism industry are also benefiting—with travel-dependent leisure and hospitality serving as the largest small-business employer in the nation, according to U.S. Travel Association research. Greater business travel spending is also fueling job growth, Huether says,as corporate profits have increased over the last several years.

Another thing to consider: Pilots, flight attendants, and other airline supported jobs are projected to grow significantly, with the International Air Transport Association predicting that, over the next 20 years, air travel will double.