Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries. So what happens when everyone stays home?

Photo above by MikeBaird _____Feature photo by muha.

The recession is global, which means trips are cheap and local economies around the world need your support.

A recent article in TIME magazine takes a close look at the effect on local economies as people shy away from travel.

It’s hard to blame anyone for staying home — when you’re made redundant at work and looking at mortgage payments how could you possible justify a vacation?

However, if it’s in your means to get away for a while, maybe you should consider taking a nice long vacation. Traveling now is a win-win situation — you get to take your mind off all this recession business, and you just might be helping someone feed their family.

Let’s look at the numbers.

According to TIME, the world’s tourism industry accounts for a mind-numbing $5.5 trillion dollars in global income and employs around 220 million people. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates a contraction of 3.5% in the travel industry this year, and a loss of 10 million jobs by the time 2011 rolls around.

That’s a lot of food that won’t be making it to dinner tables.

Travel is more affordable than ever.

There are now more airlines competing for your dollar. Couple this with the economic crunch and you can find unbelievable deals out there.

I’ve seen 10-day package tours of China (from Los Angeles) going for as little as $999 US.

Cheap flights aside, governments are helping themselves out by helping you out — countries like Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam have scaled back their visa fees.

I’ve seen 10-day package tours of China (from Los Angeles) going for as little as $999 US — this includes round-trip flight, inter-China flights, on-ground transportation, first-class hotels, meals, entrance fees and English speaking tour guide. I’m not a fan of package tours, but that’s just an example of how desperate the times are getting.

TIME also points out that Elite Island Resorts in the Caribbean is accepting stocks for payment. They take the value of the stock based on last October’s prices and will sell them when the markets recover. These are interesting times indeed.

Photo by Oldtasty

Think globally, act locally.

My favorite part of the article is that China has been doling out vouchers to their citizens for travel around their home country.

To me this policy makes a hell of a lot more sense than the local government handing out thousands in cash and encouraging everyone to spend it in the local economy. This is what is happening in Australia, and while I’m happy to take the money, I’m not convinced it’s a good idea.

If you ever had a notion to travel, this may just be the perfect time.

Instead of spending the money in the community, people here have been gambling it away on pokies (poker machines), stashing it away for a rainy day, or taking it out of the country to vacation in overseas destinations.

Ride out the storm.

Carlo and his wife.

If you ever had a notion to travel, this may just be the perfect time to turn dreams into reality. Take that redundancy offer, severance package, and your savings and hit the road.

Ride out the worst of the economic storm while taking advantage of the deals and aiding the tourism industries of local and foreign economies.

This is what my wife and I plan on doing. Being the good little global citizens that we are, come next year we’ll be on the road.

First we’ll go help out the European economy and then the Brazilian economy; then we’ll help lift the Canadian and American economies before returning to the land down under to inject some life into the Australian and New Zealand economies.

It feels good to help out when needed.

COMMUNITY CONNECTION

Matador Community member Filmgal has some excellent tips on how to travel during a recession.

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