With expenditures on entertainment so vast, it is easy to see why futurist Graham T.T. Molitor believes that a new era of leisure is dawning when the leisure industry will become the largest provider of employment in the country and will account for the biggest share of gross domestic product. Trends in the culture today, notably shorter workweeks, more holidays, longer vacations, earlier retirement, longer life spans, faster transportation, smaller families, and more labor-saving devices, are converging that will allow people to spend as much as 50 percent of their lifetimes on entertainment, sports, travel, and other leisure activities.
Molitor, president of Public Policy Forecasting, Inc., vice president of the World Future Society, and editor of Encyclopedia of the Future, says our current economic era of knowledge and information is passing and that a new leisure time era will emerge shortly. "The current Information Age has relatively few remaining years of dominance—possibly as few as 20," predicts Molitor. He expects a leisure-time era to emerge by 2015 and dominate the world economy until 2100.
"Leisure-oriented businesses—everything from bars to video stores to opera houses—will account for 50 percent of the U.S. gross national product shortly after 2015." He predicts that entertainment conglomerates, such as Disney's ABC, will be in the forefront of this growing sector. The industries that will grow in the leisure era include hospitality, recreation, entertainment, travel and tourism, gambling, and all manner of diversionary experiences and pastimes.