Gary Locke (who used to be the Gosvenor of the Great State of Washington (where I live) was yesterday touting the benefits of Travel and Tourism to the US Economy.
At a meeting of the Commerce Department's Travel and Tourism Advisory Board today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a 47 percent surge in the travel and tourism trade surplus in 2010; the surplus now exceeds $28 billion. The United States welcomed more than 55 million international visitors during the first 11 months of 2010, 11.4 million more visitors than the year before. While international visitation increased 10 percent, international visitor spending increased 11 percent to $122.7 billion. The travel and tourism industry employs nearly 8 million people across the United States.
While the airlines have been cutting back to the extent that only 500K people work for US airlines with a smattering of other foreign carriers - that makes Airlines total employment about 6% of the total.
Even adding back in the GDS staffers - it doesn't do a heck of a lot for the market. But the burgeoning IT businesses will bring some entrepreneurship to the market. Provided of course that this is not stifled by some insane notions of transparency.