Even during turbulent economic times, the leisure and hospitality industry continues at a steady pace. For example, travellers who usually take vacations to exotic locales often choose destinations closer to their homes. This means that they are still supporting the industry, but they are doing so in different locations. Also, their leisure activities may have changed. Instead of spending money sightseeing overseas, these people may satisfy themselves with a few special dinners served at restaurants near their home towns. These are just some factors to consider when determining where the hospitality and leisure industry is growing. Here are some examples of the geographic locations, demographic groups and industry subcategories where the hospitality industry is thriving.

Geographic Growth

Slow growth within other sectors often causes people to tighten their discretionary income budgets and temper their desires for fancy international trips. This is good news for scenic, leisure destinations within the domestic market. The places that currently report good employment figures and expect future increases are those that are not generally known as tourist hot spots. For example, Missouri reported a seven percent growth rate in hospitality and leisure industry employment state wide between 2000 and 2010. The report went on to say that 16 of the state’s counties experienced at least a 35 percent employment growth rate in the industry during that same time period. However, many of these increases in job numbers can be attributed to improvements in transportation in and around small towns. Installation of highways and new roads create accessible locations for restaurants and other retail stores that similarly attract population growth.

Thriving Industry Subcategories

The scenic geographic areas where hospitality and leisure businesses can establish themselves is limited, and current businesses usually occupy the chief hot spots. This means that many subcategory industries within hospitality and leisure may not experience as much growth as others. For example, lodging and activity based hospitality and leisure businesses may not experience as much growth overall as the food and beverage service subcategories. The Bureau for Labor Statistics (BLS) reported projected gains in the hospitality and leisure industry further explained that nearly 67 percent of the projected job growth within the industry would come from restaurants and drinking establishments. Within this industry subcategory, food service workers with management skills are reportedly in demand which helps to explain the increase in hospitality management education and training programs offered by schools across the nation.

Advancements Within Demographic Groups

When it comes to discretionary income needed to promote growth in the hospitality and leisure industry, Baby Boomers are still in the driver’s seat. By 2015, they are projected to account for 40 percent of the nation’s spending and hold an even greater percentage of the country’s wealth. Although many Boomers decide not to relocate when they retire, some are moving to lower cost of living areas, and surveys indicate that they are especially attracted to college towns that have a variety of things to do at inexpensive rates.


Although the BLS projects that there will be significant gains in employment nationally for those working in the hospitality and leisure industry, detailed analysis shows that those job growth numbers are not equally dispersed across all labor categories operating within the industry. Where the hospitality industry is growing depends heavily on who has discretionary income, environmental restrictions on land use, availability of sought after locations and the demand for services.