Travel & Tourism as a % of GDP in North America

Which countries in North America rely the most on travel & tourism?

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Map of the size of the tourism industry in North America.

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We already looked at the size of the travel & tourism industry in Asia and Europe. Now we’re taking a close look at North America.

Travel & tourism is an extremely important part of the economy of several countries in North America. In particular for Caribbean island nations. For most of them, travel & tourism is responsible for more than 40% of GDP. Antigua and Barbuda has by far the highest share: 83.3%! That’s the second highest in the world. only Macau is more reliant on travel & tourism (85.1%).

The global top 10 is dominated by Caribbean nations. Antigua and Barbuda (83.3%), Aruba (67.9%), Saint Lucia (59.8%), Anguilla (48.7%), British Virgin Islands (44.4%), Grenada (43.6%), St Kitts and Nevis (43.6%) and the Bahamas (42.5%) all make it into the global top 10.

For Central America, it varies from 5 to 16 percent, with the exception of Belize (37.6%), which relies far more on travel & tourism.

The data for this map is from 2019 and gives a good picture of the situation before the pandemic disrupted the tourism industry. The data comes from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The data includes both foreign and domestic tourists.

The WTTC uses the UN WTO methodology for defining the travel & tourism industry. These include travel and tourism contribution to accommodation services, food & beverage services, retail trade, transportation services, cultural, sports & recreational services. On top of that, indirect travel & tourism contribution is also included: T&T investment spending, government collective T&T spending, impact of purchases from suppliers, spending of direct and indirect employees in T&T.

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