Ginesa Martínez del Vas, PhD
According to the latest issue of UNWTO World Tourism Highlights, international tourist arrivals in 2016 reached 1,235 million, representing an increase of 3.9% over the previous year. "In recent years, tourism has proven to be a strong and fruitful strand of economic activity with a great capacity to contribute to national economic recovery as it generates billions of dollars in exports and creates millions of jobs. This has happened in destinations around the world, but particularly in Europe which is striving to consolidate its escape from one of the worst economic periods of its history", said Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General, at the opening of the Global Tourism Forum Spain in Madrid. In addition, International tourism represents 7% of the world’s exports in goods and services. Tourism has grown faster than world trade for the past five years. Travel and tourism industry provides 9.4% of employment, generating 277 million jobs around the world, and is expected to grow over 3.9% per year in the next decade, (according to Oxford Economics). The tourism industry and, in particular, hospitality is one that generates the highest rate of employment worldwide. The hospitality industry is closely related to other key sectors in developed tourism regions; catering, events, entertainment, wellness, sport, golf courses, among others, thus impacting majorly on labour supply.
In conclusion, tourism has become one of the largest and fastest-growing economic sectors in the world and, therefore, its development is vital for global economy. This development increases the demand for qualified professionals who are adapted to the reality of new productive structures and the changes on business management. In this sense, Spain, one of the most competitive tourism destination, plays the role of world leader in tourism development and research which makes it the perfect choice for students interested in the hospitality industry.