The travel industry is responsible for 7.2 million new jobs worldwide.

Tourism in London
Credit: Getty Images

According to a report released on Monday by the World Travel and Tourism Council, a London-based nonprofit that researches the global effect of tourism, the travel and tourism industry added 7.2 million jobs and contributed $7.2 trillion to the gross domestic product in 2015.

“Despite uncertainty in the global economy and specific challenges to travel and tourism last year, the sector grew by 3.1%, contributing a total of 9.8% to the global GDP,” David Scowsill, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council said in a statement.

This rise comes despite a year filled with hurdles in the travel industry like Zika virus, Ebola, and safety threats. “Terror attacks, disease outbreaks, currency fluctuations and geopolitical challenges have impacted the sector at a country or regional level, but travel and tourism at the global level continues to produce another robust performance,” added Scowsill.

Contributing factors include a global increase in middle-class household incomes, an aging population, the power of the U.S. dollar, and the “growing connectivity between destinations, making travel more accessible and affordable.”

And this performance is expected to continue. According to the report, the tourism industry is expected to grow 4% annually over the next 10 years.