Out of these different sectors, travel and tourism are the world’s largest industry and the largest generator of jobs. Statistics from all over the world show that travel &. Tourism is the largest segment of the Hospitality Industry and is comprised of many different businesses – for example, businesses offering transportation, lodging, food &. beverages, shopping, entertainment, and recreation.
There is a certain amount of overlap in the demarcation of the travel and tourism sector and the overall hospitality industry. Tourism while being the largest employer in any country, is also a viable economic development strategy adopted by many countries. Rural areas and small communities with a declining economic based have found an alternative in tourism. Ohnoutka and Hughes (2002) contend that tourism is a complex industry as it includes a variety of economic sectors – transportation, accommodations, food and beverage services, recreational activities, retail shopping, and entertainment. The community tourism industry, therefore, sells goods and services to the sector. Hence apart from the hotel and the restaurant industry, most areas or businesses that cater to the tourists or are engaged in the promotion of tourism form a part of the travel and tourism industry. Thus the airlines, tour operators travel agencies, cruise companies, and convention planners, lodging, recreation and shopping malls at tourist spots also are a part of the travel and the tourism sector.
Tourism in the 20th century as the business of attracting visitors and catering to their needs has grown as the world’s largest industry surpassing autos, steel, electronics, and agriculture (Sirgy &. Su, 2000). It is undoubtedly a large source of foreign exchange, employment, and income. This shows that the economy of a nation depends on the travel and tourism industry and this is further endorsed by the fact that post-September 11, the industry lost $1.36 billion in business because of a .dramatic drop in bookings for flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, and cruise. .