EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, Tuesday, June 23, 2015
BEA 15—28

Travel and Tourism Spending Decelerated in the First Quarter of 2015

Real spending (output) on travel and tourism decelerated in the first quarter of 2015, increasing at an annual rate of 2.0 percent after increasing 4.9 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2014. By comparison, real gross domestic product (GDP) turned down, decreasing 0.7 percent (second estimate) in the first quarter after increasing 2.2 percent.

The leading contributors to the deceleration in the first quarter were "all other transportation-related commodities" and "food services and drinking places." "All other transportation-related commodities" decelerated, increasing 1.9 percent in the first quarter after increasing 13.3 percent in the fourth quarter. "Food services and drinking places" also decelerated, increasing 2.0 percent after increasing 8.9 percent. Partially offsetting these decelerations, "passenger air transportation" turned up, increasing 3.9 percent in the first quarter after decreasing 2.2 percent.

Chart 1. Quarterly Growth in Real Tourism Spending

Tourism Prices.  Overall growth in prices for travel and tourism goods and services continued to decline in the first quarter of 2015, decreasing 9.1 percent following a decrease of 4.7 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter. The continued decline was mainly attributable to a large decrease in "all other transportation-related commodities," which includes gasoline; this commodity group decreased 33.4 percent in the first quarter after decreasing 23.5 percent in the fourth quarter.

Chart 2. Tourism Prices

Tourism Employment.  Employment in the travel and tourism industries decelerated, increasing 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2015 after increasing 2.9 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter. This marks the 20th consecutive quarter of employment growth in the travel and tourism industries. By comparison, overall U.S. employment increased 2.2 percent in the first quarter after increasing 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter. "Food services and drinking places" was the most significant contributor to employment growth, increasing 4.0 percent in the first quarter.  

Chart 3. Tourism Employment

Total Tourism-Related Output was $1.6 trillion in the first quarter of 2015. It consisted of $905.4 billion (58 percent) of direct tourism spending and $663.2 billion (42 percent) of indirect tourism-related spending.

Total Tourism-Related Employment was 8.0 million jobs in the first quarter of 2015 and consisted of 5.6 million (70 percent) direct tourism jobs and 2.4 million (30 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 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 second quarter 2015 will be released on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 8:30 A.M. EDT