EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, Thursday, June 23, 2016
BEA 16—31

Travel and Tourism Spending Accelerated in the First Quarter

Travel and Tourism Satellite Account: First Quarter 2016

Real spending (output) on travel and tourism accelerated in the first quarter of 2016, increasing at an annual rate of 5.2 percent after increasing 1.5 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2015. By comparison, real gross domestic product (GDP) decelerated, increasing 0.8 percent in the first quarter (second estimate) after increasing 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The leading contributors to the acceleration in the first quarter were “all other transportation-related goods and services” and “passenger air transportation.” “All other transportation-related goods and services” turned up, increasing 3.4 percent after decreasing 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015. “Passenger air transportation” accelerated, increasing 24.8 percent in the first quarter after increasing 13.0 percent in the fourth quarter.

Chart 1. Quarterly Growth in Real Tourism Spending

Tourism Prices. Overall growth in prices for travel and tourism goods and services turned up in the first quarter of 2016, increasing 3.0 percent following a decrease of 1.3 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2015. The upturn was mainly attributable to prices of “all other transportation-related goods and services” and “passenger air transportation.” The price of “all other transportation-related goods and services,” which includes gasoline, increased 3.3 percent in the first quarter after decreasing 9.1 percent in the previous quarter. The price of “passenger air transportation” turned up from a 5.9 percent decline in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 4.9 percent growth in the first quarter on 2016.

Chart 2. Tourism Prices

Tourism Employment. Employment in the travel and tourism industries accelerated, increasing 1.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016 after increasing 1.0 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter. By comparison, overall U.S. employment increased 1.9 percent in the first quarter after increasing 2.0 percent in the fourth quarter. “Food services and drinking places” was the most significant contributor to the growth, increasing 3.0 percent in the first quarter. “Recreation and entertainment" was also a significant contributor, increasing 3.4 percent.

Chart 3. Tourism Employment

Total Tourism-Related Output was $1.6 trillion in the first quarter of 2016. It consisted of $929.3 billion (58 percent) of direct tourism spending and $670.2 billion (42 percent) of indirect tourism-related spending.

Total Tourism-Related Employment was 7.6 million jobs in the first quarter of 2016 and consisted of 5.4 million (71 percent) direct tourism jobs and 2.2 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 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 2016 will be released on Wednesday September 14, 2016 at 8:30 A.M. EDT