Frequent claims are made for the importance of the hospitality industry, and wider tourism sector, as potential and actual creators of employment. Many of these claims emanate from industry representative and advocacy organizations, often as part of their legitimate efforts to lobby governments for favourable treatment of their sectors. Good quality universal statistical data on employment in hospitality are noticeable by their absence, although information collected by bodies such as the International Labour Organization is extensive. This paper reviews the current state of data availability on global hospitality employment (with a primary focus on commercial hospitality operations) and seeks to employ these secondary sources in investigating the question as to whether we can in fact make plausible statements about the extent of such employment. This exercise is important both to contextualizing claims made for the employment generating capacity of the hospitality industry and to shedding light on the degree of seriousness with which data might be treated in wider policy contexts. The paper concludes, with cautious optimism, that commercial hospitality is a significant global employer and that the claims made for this employment by representative and advocacy organizations are plausible if treated with circumspection.
- hospitality industry
- tourism industry