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BEA 16—13

Travel and Tourism Spending Decelerated in the Fourth Quarter of 2015

Real spending (output) on travel and tourism decelerated in the fourth quarter of 2015, increasing at an annual rate of 1.7 percent after increasing 4.5 percent (revised) in the third quarter of 2015. Real gross domestic product (GDP) also decelerated, increasing 1.0 percent in the fourth quarter (second estimate) after increasing 2.0 percent. For the year, travel and tourism spending grew 4.4 percent after increasing 3.1 percent in 2014.

The leading contributors to the deceleration in the fourth quarter were "transportation" and "traveler accommodations." Real spending on "transportation" decelerated, growing 1.0 percent in the fourth quarter, after increasing 8.5 percent in the third quarter. Real spending on "traveler accommodations" turned down, decreasing 4.2 percent after increasing 4.0 percent in the previous quarter.

Chart 1. Quarterly Growth in Real Tourism Spending

Tourism Prices. Price growth for travel and tourism goods and services fell at an increasing rate in the fourth quarter of 2015, decreasing 1.5 percent following a decrease of 0.2 percent (revised) in the third quarter. The larger decrease was mainly attributable to "all other transportation-related commodities," which includes gasoline, travel arrangements and reservation services, and automotive rental. This commodity group decreased 9.0 percent after decreasing 0.5 percent in the third quarter. Prices for "traveler accommodations" accelerated in the fourth quarter, partially offsetting the larger decline in prices for "all other transportation-related commodities." For 2015, prices for travel and tourism goods and services turned down, decreasing 4.0 percent after increasing 1.2 percent in 2014.

Chart 2. Tourism Prices

Tourism Employment. Employment growth in the travel and tourism industries decelerated, increasing 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 after increasing 2.2 percent in the third quarter. In comparison, overall U.S. employment increased 2.0 percent in the fourth quarter after increasing 1.9 percent (revised) in the third quarter. Transportation was the most significant contributor to the slow down, increasing 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter, after increasing 2.8 percent in the third quarter. For the year 2015, employment in the travel and tourism industries increased 2.6 percent after increasing 2.5 percent in 2014.

Chart 3. Tourism Employment

Total Tourism-Related Output was $1.6 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2015. It consisted of $919.4 billion (58 percent) of direct tourism spending and $668.9 billion (42 percent) of indirect tourism-related spending.

Total Tourism-Related Employment was 8.1 million jobs in the fourth 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 consists of all jobs where the workers are engaged in the production of direct tourism output (for example, hotel staff and airline pilots). Indirect tourism employment consists of 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 first quarter 2016 and 2015 annual revision will be released on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 8:30 A.M. EDT