EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EST, Wednesday, December 16, 2015
BEA 15—62

Travel and Tourism Spending Decelerated in the Third Quarter of 2015

Real spending (output) on travel and tourism decelerated in the third quarter of 2015, increasing at an annual rate of 4.3 percent after increasing 8.4 percent (revised) in the second quarter of 2015. Real gross domestic product (GDP) also decelerated, increasing 2.1 percent (second estimate) in the third quarter after increasing 3.9 percent.

The leading contributors to the deceleration in the third quarter were "traveler accommodations" and "recreation and entertainment." Real spending on "traveler accommodations" decelerated, increasing 4.0 percent in the third quarter after increasing 13.5 percent (revised) in the second quarter. Real spending on "recreation and entertainment" turned down, declining 8.1 percent, after increasing 5.6 percent in the previous quarter.

Chart 1. Quarterly Growth in Real Tourism Spending

Tourism Prices.  Price growth for travel and tourism goods and services turned down in the third quarter of 2015, decreasing 0.3 percent following an increase of 0.5 percent (revised) in the second quarter. The downturn was mainly attributable to a downturn in "all other transportation-related commodities," which includes gasoline, travel arrangements and reservation services, and automotive rental. This commodity group decreased 0.2 percent after increasing 14.4 percent in the second quarter. Prices for "traveler accommodations" turned up in the third quarter, partially offsetting the downturn in prices for "all other transportation-related commodities."

Chart 2. Tourism Prices

Tourism Employment.  Employment growth in the travel and tourism industries accelerated, increasing 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2015 after increasing 1.6 percent in the second quarter. In comparison, overall U.S. employment increased 1.8 percent in the third quarter after increasing 1.7 percent in the second quarter. "Food services and drinking places " was the most significant contributor to employment growth, adding 14.6 thousand employees, followed by "air transportation" which added 4.5 thousand employees.

Chart 3. Tourism Employment

Total Tourism-Related Output was $1.6 trillion in the third quarter of 2015. It consisted of $918.1 billion (58 percent) of direct tourism spending and $665.8 billion (42 percent) of indirect tourism-related spending.

Total Tourism-Related Employment was 8.1 million jobs in the third quarter of 2015, comprising 5.7 million (70 percent) direct tourism jobs and 2.4 million (30 percent) indirect tourism-related jobs.

Definitions

Tourism output. Total tourism-related output 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 2015) 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.

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Next release – Travel and Tourism statistics for fourth quarter 2015 will be released on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 8:30 A.M. EDT