With 11 million job openings, the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly left drastic and long-lasting impacts on the American workforce. The loss of jobs, however, was most severe among our very own industry—total travel and tourism supported jobs plummeted 34% between 2019 and 2020—declining from 16.7 million in 2019 to 11.1 million, on average, in 2020. And despite gains through the summer, leisure and hospitality still represents 34% of all job losses and remains 8% below its pre-pandemic levels as of November.

After enduring a pandemic, swift and widespread job losses and furloughs, changes to how and where we work and the time to self-reflect and reevaluate long-term career goals, the American workforce is forever changed.  

This report analyzes how the pandemic impacted the current state of the workforce including:

  • Employment shifts as a result of COVID-19
  • Disproportionate impact on minorities and regional differences
  • Primary reasons for workforce shortages
  • Perceptions of travel and tourism careers
  • Top employment considerations for today’s workforce
  • Industry recommendations, quotes, call outs and industry examples providing unique perspectives and
  • Potential solutions on addressing the current hiring landscape


Not all these challenges we face are new… The pandemic’s effect on the stability of a job in the travel industry… has only exacerbated these vulnerabilities… making it clear that a shift in thinking and strategy around rebuilding the travel workforce is critical—for now and far into the future.