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BEA 17—29

Travel and Tourism Spending Turned Up in the First Quarter

Travel and Tourism Satellite Account: First Quarter 2017

Real spending (output) on travel and tourism turned up in the first quarter of 2017, increasing at an annual rate of 0.4 percent after decreasing 2.7 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to new statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In contrast, real gross domestic product (GDP) for the nation decelerated, increasing 1.2 percent in the first quarter (second estimate) after increasing 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The leading contributors to the upturn in real spending were traveler accommodations and passenger air transportation. Traveler accommodations turned up, increasing 5.3 percent after decreasing 5.9 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2016. The upturn also reflects a smaller decline in passenger air transportation, which decreased 6.0 percent in the first quarter after declining 14.4 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter.

Chart 1. Quarterly Growth in Real Tourism Spending

Tourism Prices. Prices for travel and tourism goods and services decelerated in the first quarter of 2017, increasing 3.2 percent following an increase of 9.4 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2016. The deceleration was attributable to prices for traveler accommodations, all other transportation-related goods and services, and passenger air transportation.

  • Prices for traveler accommodations turned down, decreasing 2.1 percent after increasing 10.6 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • Prices for all other transportation-related goods and services, which includes gasoline, increased 7.0 percent in the first quarter after increasing 16.8 percent (revised) in the previous quarter.
  • Prices for passenger air transportation decelerated, increasing 6.3 percent in the first quarter after increasing 17.8 percent (revised).
Chart 2. Tourism Prices

Tourism Employment. Employment in the travel and tourism industries decelerated, increasing 1.3 percent in the first quarter of 2017 after increasing 3.7 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2016. In contrast, overall U.S. employment increased 1.5 percent in the first quarter after increasing 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

  • Food services and drinking places was the leading contributor to the growth, adding approximately 8,300 employees in the first quarter.
  • Transportation was also a significant contributor. Transportation comprises all other transportation-related industries and air transportation services, which added 2,600 and 2,500 employees, respectively.
Chart 3. Tourism Employment

Total Tourism-Related Output was $1.6 trillion in the first quarter of 2017, comprising $919.0 billion (58 percent) of direct tourism spending and $662.6 billion (42 percent) of indirect tourism-related spending.

Total Tourism-Related Employment was 7.8 million jobs in the first quarter of 2017, comprising 5.5 million (70 percent) direct tourism jobs and 2.3 million (30 percent) indirect tourism-related jobs.

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 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 from BEA, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), and Current Employment Statistics (CES) from BLS.

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Next release – September 13, 2017 at 8:30 A.M. EDT for:
Travel and Tourism statistics: Second Quarter, 2017