It's also the world's largest employer with one in every eleven people on the planet working in the tourism and travel industry. They're amazing figures and, if current predictions are to be believed, it's only going to get better. That in itself is a very good reason to be excited about the prospects for 2015 and beyond. Here are five more.
A soaring job market
Experts predict that another 75 million jobs will be created in tourism over the next ten years. That's almost the population of Germany! We can thank the middle classes for that. Their numbers have doubled over the last 20 years. They're expected to double again in the next 20. And they're the ones doing most of the travelling.
Luxury travel for less
Gone are the days when luxury travel was accompanied by an equally luxurious price tag. Low cost airlines and online booking sites have teamed up to bring the world within reach of even the most modest budget, and the hospitality sector benefits just as much as consumers.
Gen Y are set to fly
Over the next decade Generation Y customers – already noted for a willingness to put the word 'disposable' in front of a disproportionate percentage of their income – are expected to be at their peak earning potential. Experts predict this increased wealth will translate into a boon for tourism.
Self-service check-ins to fast track hotels
Travellers already enjoy the speed and convenience of self-service kiosks in many of the world's major airports. Now major hotel chains are experimenting with the kiosk idea to eliminate tiresome check-in queues. It's an exciting initiative offering substantial labour savings and any idea that makes the hotel experience more convenient for travellers has to be encouraged.
International sporting events to drive Australian tourism
On a local note, the ICC Cricket World Cup is being currently co-hosted by Australia (and New Zealand), putting Australia at the forefront of more than a billion minds worldwide and filling thousands of beds nationally.
With Australia also having just hosted (and won) the AFC Asia Cup, sporting events will play a major role in making 2015 a massive year for local tourism and hospitality.