The hospitality industry of the USA is huge, diverse and ever-expanding. This article covers a quick overview of the hospitality and leisure industry in the USA.

It has been over a decade of the 9/11 attack which led to a recession for the US travel industry. Things have improved ever since and what has followed is a decade long story of expansion and innovation. 

However, this has again been stalled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought the global hospitality and travel market to a standstill. As of the now the most affected nation has been the US due to which the outlook of the travel and hospitality industry of the US looks grim at present.

Here we present some of the key points that would describe the outlook of the Hospitality and travel industry of the USA.  

We have tried here to present the overview of the US hospitality and travel industry in a nutshell (Data Courtesy- Statista, Wikipedia and Deloitte report).

A quick Overview of the Hospitality Industry in the USA

1.The Booming hospitality industry in the US 

Overall ‘hospitality and travel industry’ is said to have directly generated close to $3 Trillion globally as per estimates. Out of this, the hospitality and tourism market of the USA is the largest contributor by generating close to 600 US$.

Indirectly the hospitality industry of the US is said to have generated close to $1 Trillion in revenue.

That’s close to 20% of the global direct revenue. This in itself speaks volume of the contribution of this country as far as the hospitality and travel industry is concerned.

Airlines sector has generated maximum revenue of around $222 billion in 2018 and has grown further in 2020.

This is being closely followed by the hotel industry which is inching closer to the $200 billion annual revenue mark. Cruise lines, restaurants, car rentals, theme parks, casinos etc have also contributed to the ever-increasing revenue of the hospitality and travel industry of the USA.

In the last 10 years, the US hospitality and leisure industry has seen a continuous growth which has been above the growth of Gross domestic product growth of the country. The below image details how the various sectors of the hospitality industry in the US grew between 2009-2017. The growth continued in 2018 and 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic stalled the growth in 2020. 

2. Creating numerous job opportunities

The tourism industry is close to employing 1 in 10 people around the globe. The USA hospitality and tourism industry is the biggest contributor to this overall employment within this sector.

US hospitality industry has created 1,139,000 job opportunities as on date in 2019 which is way above the number in 2009. The number of job openings, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, was 353,000 in 2009. 

The USA is the most popular destination for hospitality professionals from all around the globe for employment. There are various visas and work permits to invite the best talent from around the globe to the USA. the training route through J1 visa is quite popular as well. Now, one might think why is the J1 visa USA this popular. Let’s look at this in the context of the hospitality industry.

The Hospitality industry in the USA provides training opportunities in various sectors such as tourism and hospitality, management, finance, business, Media communications, public administration, etc. The hospitality industry of the USA is big and booming. This industry is much broader than any other industry.

Have a look at the below infographic courtesy American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) about the Lodging industry of US in 2015. This number has swelled by a huge margin at the beginning of 2020. The below image is for reference and comparison purpose only.


This is just the story of the Hotel industry of US.

Restaurants, Theme Parks, Casinos, Facilities and forms of transportation provided to tourists such as cruise ships, trains, airlines etc. are also part of the huge hospitality industry.

Hospitality and Tourism Institutes also are very much a part of this industry. This increases the opportunities available to hospitality professionals from all around the globe.

3. Origin of most of the top hospitality companies in the world.

Think of the top hotel chains in the world. From Hilton Worldwide to Marriott’s; from Wyndham to Hyatt and many other hotel chains find their origin from within the USA.

A lot of these top hotel chains had a somewhat humble beginning within the USA before going global. Even today, this country leads the way as far as the number of hotels and hotel chains is concerned.

Even speaking about the Cruise ships, you would find the best ones originating from this country. Think of the likes of Disney and more.

Airlines industry is equally huge and so are the casino and theme park industry. Who can forget the Disney land?

Please have a look at our article on the top hospitality companies in the USA  to know more about the expanse of the hospitality industry of the USA.

4. Pushing global growth of the hospitality industry through Technology

When we speak about technology and innovation, the hospitality industry of the USA is showing the world a clear way ahead.

Some of the top hospitality innovation have been pioneered within the hospitality industry of the USA.

We will not be short of examples in terms of discussing hospitality innovation that has originated from the USA. Some of these are:

  • Digital keyless entry
  • Robot as butler and concierge
  • Augmented reality in the travel industry (Google and Facebook have helped the cause but they are US firms too)
  • Virtual reality (for an enhanced booking and travel experience)
  • Smart hotels
  • Greater use of artificial intelligence for improved customer service and support
  • Greater use of Blockchain and Internet of things (IoT) within the hospitality industry

and there are more that we have surely missed as the list is endless.


We presented here a quick overview of the hospitality industry of the USA. We covered some of the numbers that speak volume about why this country is said to the be leader as far as the hospitality industry is concerned. However, this is true for most of the other industries as well.

The growth will sure take a detour due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 but is all set to bounce back in 2021. The decade long success story of the hospitality industry has certainly been stalled in 2020, however, the rebound is certain in 2021.

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