Home > News Release: U.S. Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts, Third Quarter 2009
EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EST, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2009
BEA 09-53



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TOURISM SPENDING REBOUNDS IN THE THIRD QUARTER 2009

Real spending on travel and tourism increased at an annual rate of 6.4 percent in 2009:3 after increasing 0.2 percent (revised) in 2009:2.  By comparison, real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 2.8 percent (second estimate) in 2009:3 after decreasing 0.7 percent in 2009:2.  Despite the rebound, real travel and tourism spending was still below its 2007:3 peak.  Travel and tourism prices increased 6.7 percent in 2009:3 after decreasing 3.7 percent (revised) in 2009:2.  Transportation was the largest contributor to growth in travel and tourism spending in 2009:3.

  • Passenger air transportation spending accelerated — increasing 26.3 percent at an annual rate in 2009:3 after increasing 10.7 percent (revised) in 2009:2.  This marked recovering business travel on both domestic and international routes.  
  • Spending on accommodations turned up — increasing 17.0 percent in 2009:3 after decreasing 1.5 percent (revised) in 2009:2.  The turnaround reflected increased occupancy rates (primarily leisure travelers) and declines in accommodations prices.
  • The largest contributor to price change this quarter was gasoline purchased by auto travelers, which spiked in 2009:3.  Prices for passenger air transportation reversed their downward trend, increasing 2.1 percent in 2009:3 after decreasing 29.8 percent (revised) in 2009:2.  Accommodations prices continued to decline, decreasing 4.7 percent in 2009:3 after falling 6.8 percent in 2009:2 (revised).  
Chart 1. Real Tourism Spending

Direct tourism-related employment fell 1.7 percent in 2009:3, compared to the 4.8 percent (revised) decline in 2009:2.  By comparison, overall U.S. employment decreased 2.7 percent in 2009:3 and decreased 4.5 percent (revised) in 2009:2.  Almost all travel and tourism industries reduced employment.  Only recreation and entertainment experienced growth, 0.8 percent in 2009:3.

Real Tourism Spending. Spending on passenger air transportation accelerated strongly, increasing 26.3 percent in 2009:3, after increasing 10.7 percent in 2009:2. Traveler accommodations turned up, rising 17.0 percent after a decline of 1.5 percent (revised) in the previous quarter. Airlines experienced improved business demand as companies began easing restrictions on travel, and accommodations saw increased demand from both business and leisure travel.
Chart 2. Quarterly Growth in Real Tourism Spending
Tourism Prices. Prices for passenger air transportation reversed their trend of the last three quarters — rising 2.1 percent in 2009:3 following a decrease of 29.8 percent (revised) in 2009:2. Prices for domestic flights increased this quarter, while prices for international flights continued to decline. Prices for accommodations decreased 4.7 percent after falling 6.8 percent in the previous quarter. Occupancy increased as leisure travelers responded to lower room rates.
Chart 3. Quarterly Growth in Tourism Prices
Tourism Employment. Employment in air transportation services decreased 3.9 percent in 2009:3 after decreasing 4.9 percent in 2009:2. Employment in accommodations services decreased 3.1 percent in 2009:3 after decreasing 8.5 percent in the prior quarter. Both airlines and accommodations reduced employment during the downturn in order to reduce costs.
Chart 4. Quarterly Growth in Tourism Employment

Total Tourism-Related Spending. The U.S. production generated by tourism spending not only includes the goods and services that are purchased directly, but also the inputs used to produce these goods and services — indirect tourism-related spending. In 2009:3, total current-dollar tourism-related spending was $1.3 trillion and consisted of $716.2 billion (57 percent) of direct tourism spending — goods and services sold directly to visitors — and $549.8 billion (43 percent) of indirect tourism-related spending — goods and services used to produce what visitors buy.

Total Tourism-Related Employment. In 2009:3, total tourism-related employment was 8.2 million and consisted of 5.6 million (69 percent) direct tourism jobs — jobs where workers produce goods and services sold directly to visitors — and 2.6 million (31 percent) indirect tourism-related jobs — jobs where workers produce goods and services used to produce what visitors buy.

 

Definitions

Tourism spending.  Tourism spending comprises all goods and services purchased by tourists (defined as people who travel for any reason).  In the following tables, tourism spending is referred to as direct tourism output.

Indirect tourism-related spending.  Indirect tourism-related spending comprises all output used as inputs in the process of producing direct tourism output (e.g., toiletries for hotel guests and the plastic used to produce souvenir key chains).

Total tourism-related spending.  Total tourism-related spending is the sum of direct tourism spending and indirect tourism-related spending.

Direct tourism employment.  Direct tourism employment comprises all jobs where the workers are engaged in the production of direct tourism output (such as hotel staff, airline pilots, and souvenir sellers).

Indirect tourism-related employment.  Indirect tourism-related employment comprises all jobs where the workers are engaged in the production of indirect tourism-related output (e.g., employees of companies that produce toiletries for hotel guests and the plastic used to produce souvenir key chains). 

Total tourism-related employment.  Total tourism-related employment is the sum of direct tourism employment and indirect tourism-related employment.

 

These statistics are from BEA’s Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts (TTSAs), which are supported by funding from the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.  The current-price statistics of direct tourism output were derived from BEA’s annual TTSAs (revised in June 2009) and from current-price quarterly statistics of personal consumption expenditures from the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs).  The real statistics of direct tourism output were developed using price indexes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and real quarterly statistics of personal consumption expenditures from the NIPAs.  The statistics of direct tourism employment were derived from the annual TTSAs (revised in June 2009) from BEA, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), and Current Employment Statistics (CES) from BLS. 

Quarterly statistics are seasonally adjusted and expressed at annual rates, unless otherwise specified.  Percent changes are calculated from unrounded data and annualized.  Real values are in chained (2000) dollars.  Price indexes are chain-type measures.  Growth in overall U.S. employment is calculated using BLS total nonfarm employment from Current Employment Statistics, www.bls.gov/ces/home.htm#data.

 

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Next release – Travel and Tourism statistics for fourth quarter and annual 2009 will be released on Friday, March 19, 2010 at 8:30 a.m. EDT. 

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