Tourism plays a major part in the balance of payments of many countries, frequently exceeding in importance the imports or exports of merchandise; many branches of a national economy supply services and goods for tourism. In the case of some branches all, or almost all, of their activity is related to tourism, for example, hotels and similar accommodations, charter air passenger companies and travel agents; in the case of other branches, tourism supplies a major part of their revenue, for example, restaurants and souvenir shops in tourist resorts.
In addition to international tourism, domestic tourism consists of hundreds of millions of holidays away from home and other recreational and business trips. The development of tourism may, in certain circumstances, contribute to pressures on the general level of prices. Its inflationary effect varies considerably from one country to another. Although the main effects are encountered in the accommodation sector, in some countries they may extend to basic items, including food and clothing, creating local socio-economic problems.