EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18, 2015
BEA 15-10

TRAVEL AND TOURISM SPENDING ACCELERATED IN THE FOURTH QUARTER OF 2014

Real spending on travel and tourism accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2014, increasing at an annual rate of 4.5 percent after increasing 3.4 percent (revised) in the third quarter. By comparison, real gross domestic product (GDP) decelerated, increasing 2.2 percent (second estimate) in the fourth quarter after increasing 5.0 percent. For the year, real spending on travel and tourism increased 2.5 percent in 2014 after increasing 3.6 percent in 2013. By comparison, real GDP increased 2.4 percent in 2014 after increasing 2.2 percent in 2013.

The leading contributors to the acceleration in the fourth quarter were "passenger air transportation" and "recreation and entertainment." "Passenger air transportation" turned up, increasing 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter after decreasing 4.5 percent in the third quarter. "Recreation and entertainment" also turned up, increasing 6.2 percent after decreasing 0.9 percent. Partially offsetting these upturns, "traveler accommodations" turned down, decreasing 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter after increasing 8.3 percent.

Chart 1. Quarterly Growth in Real Tourism Spending
Tourism Prices. Overall growth in prices for travel and tourism goods and services turned down in the fourth quarter of 2014, decreasing 3.4 percent following an increase of 0.6 percent (revised) in the third quarter. The downturn was mainly attributable to a larger decrease in "all other transportation-related commodities," which includes gasoline and automotive rentals; this commodity group decreased 19.2 percent in the fourth quarter after decreasing 3.8 percent in the third quarter. For the year 2014, prices for travel and tourism goods and services increased 1.9 percent after increasing 0.5 percent in 2013.
Chart 2. Tourism Prices
Tourism Employment. Employment in the travel and tourism industries accelerated, increasing 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 after increasing 2.0 percent (revised) in the third quarter. This marks the 19th consecutive quarter of employment growth in the travel and tourism industries. By comparison, overall U.S. employment increased 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter after increasing 2.2 percent in the third quarter. "Food services and drinking places" was the most significant contributor to employment growth, increasing 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter. For the year 2014, employment in the travel and tourism industries increased 2.4 percent after increasing 2.2 percent in 2013.
Chart 3. Tourism Employment

Total Tourism-Related Output was $1.6 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2014. It consisted of $905.5 billion (58 percent) of direct tourism spending and $651.5 billion (42 percent) of indirect tourism-related spending.

Total Tourism-Related Employment was 7.8 million jobs in the fourth quarter of 2014 and consisted of 5.5 million (71 percent) direct tourism jobs and 2.3 million (29 percent) indirect tourism-related jobs.

Definitions

Tourism spending. Total tourism-related spending consists of direct tourism output and indirect tourism output. Direct tourism output comprises all domestically produced goods and services purchased by travelers (for example, traveler accommodations and passenger air transportation). Indirect tourism output comprises all output required to support the production of direct tourism output (for example, toiletries for hotel guests and fuel for airplanes).

Tourism employment. Total tourism-related employment consists of direct tourism employment plus indirect tourism employment. Direct tourism employment comprises all jobs where the workers are engaged in the production of direct tourism output (for example, hotel staff and airline pilots). Indirect tourism employment comprises all jobs where the workers are engaged in the production of indirect tourism output (for example, workers producing hotel toiletries and delivering fuel to airlines).

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 (revised in June 2014) 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 (2009) dollars. Price indexes are Fisher 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.

* * *

Next release — Travel and Tourism statistics for first quarter 2015 will be released on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 8:30 A.M. EDT