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U.S. Travel Association Study Shows Travel Jobs Good for Economy, Workers


Washington, DC–The U.S. Travel Association yesterday unveiled a first-of-its-kind study that indicates workers who begin their careers in travel earn higher wages than in other industries, enjoy better career opportunities and pursue higher education at higher rates than those who start in other occupations.

The study included 30 years of data for more than 5,000 workers whose careers were tracked over that time by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and analyzed by Oxford Economics and the U.S. Travel Association.

The report, titled “Fast Forward: Travel Creates Opportunities and Launches Careers,” proves travel-related businesses are a top 10 employer of middle-class workers nationwide, ranking No. 9 overall with 3.7 million workers. In all, 53% of all travel industry workers earn middle-class or higher wages. “In recent years, the travel industry has quietly emerged as one of America’s leading drivers of growth and job creation,” said David Huether, senior vice president for research and economics at U.S. Travel.

The study indicates other significant benefits to travel jobs:

More travel workers earn bachelor’s degrees than any industry except financial services.
Those who don’t earn college degrees still tend to earn higher salaries through a career in travel sectors than others, averaging $69,500 compared to $66,100 per year for non-travel tourism jobs.
Those who start their careers in the travel industry reach an average maximum salary of $81,900—higher than any industry besides financial services.
In addition to higher wages, the study found that one-third of workers who began careers in the travel industry earned at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to just 28% in healthcare, 19% in construction and 18% in manufacturing. That’s attributed in part to flexible schedules that allow part-time workers to pursue higher education resulting in additional career opportunities.

In all, the travel industry supports 14.4 million U.S. jobs, 53% of which deliver middle-class incomes to individual workers. The BLS 30-year data also indicates that 40% of American workers whose first job was in travel are now earning more than $100,000 annually. Nineteen percent of all travel workers started their careers in the travel industry.

“Travel jobs provide important, transferable skills that are indispensable to career success, and careers in travel deliver financial security with the majority of travel industry workers earning a middle-class income or higher,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.

Overall, the travel industry injects $1.9 trillion into the U.S. economy, Huether said.

Reach Roger Dow at (202) 408-8422 or; David Huether at (202) 408-2190 or

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