Global travel and tourism grew at 3.9% last year to contribute a record $8.8 trillion and 319 million jobs to the world economy, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has reported.

The travel and tourism sector grew faster than the rate of world GDP growth (3.2%) for the eighth consecutive year.

The WTTC reported the sector generated 10.4% of global economic activity and one in ten jobs worldwide, as well as one in five of all new jobs created in the last five years.

Travel and tourism grew ahead of the healthcare sector (+3.1%), IT (+1.7%) and financial services (+1.7%).

Only manufacturing recorded faster growth of 4% year on year.

Spending by international visitors made up 28.8% of the global travel and tourism total, up from 27.3% in 2017 – with 71.2% of spending by domestic visitors.

Leisure travel comprised 78.5% of the total, up from 77.5% in 2017.

WTTC president and chief executive Gloria Guevara said: “2018 was another year of strong growth for the global travel and tourism sector, reinforcing its role as a driver of economic growth and job creation.

“For the eighth consecutive year, our sector outpaced growth in the wider global economy and we recorded the second-highest growth of any major sector in the world.

“This proves the power of travel and tourism as a tool for governments to generate prosperity while creating jobs which particularly support women, youth and marginalised groups of society.”

She said: “Travel and tourism is forecast to contribute 100 million new jobs globally over the next 10 years, accounting for 421 million jobs by 2029.”