Travel and tourism added 7.2 million jobs worldwide in 2015

Have money, will travel.

Growth in middle-class income in China and elsewhere has helped add 7.2 million jobs in the travel and tourism industries worldwide, contributing $7.2 trillion to the gross domestic product.

The glowing assessment of job growth in the travel and tourism industries came from an annual report by the World Travel and Tourism Council, a London-based nonprofit that researches the global effect of tourism.

The report said travel and tourism spending grew by 3.1%, contributing 9.8% to global GDP. The industries now support 284 million jobs, an increase of 7.2 million, according to the tourism council.

The worldwide increase in travel spending was helped, in part, by a 53% increase in outbound travel spending from China in 2015, for a total of $215 billion, the tourism council said.

Meanwhile, the strong U.S. dollar helped increase travel to favorite destination for U.S. vacationers, including Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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Spending by U.S. travelers venturing abroad grew 6.3% in 2015, while spending by foreign visitors to Canada grew 8.5% and increased 28.9% to Mexico, the World Travel and Tourism Council reported.

“Travel Tourism has been performing well in the majority of the economies in the Americas, with the U.S. dollar being a big driver,” said David Scowsill, president and chief executive of the tourism council. “There is a huge potential for countries to tap into the growing number of U.S. tourists traveling abroad because of their strong currency.”

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin.