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August 18, 2009

Economic Downturn Continues to Weaken Tourism Industry

Accelerating Job Losses, Sharp Declines in Spending Send Discouraging Signals

Key statistics recently released by the Commerce Department for the first quarter of 2009 confirm that the current economic downturn has created the most difficult environment for the U.S. tourism industry since 9/11.

Total tourism-related employment decreased by 149,000 during the first quarter, settling at 8.35 million. This is the second largest quarterly drop on record and the worst since the fourth quarter of 2001. Job losses continued to accelerate, slipping from -4.0% to -6.8% (annualized) for the quarter.

If the industry continues to eliminate jobs at the present rate, this would translate into a loss of 581,000 industry-supported jobs for the year and would effectively erase over a decade’s worth of job growth in the industry.

Total tourism-related spending figures suggest that the U.S. tourism industry shrank by 15.4% during the first quarter; by comparison, current-dollar U.S. GDP contracted at the rate of 4.6% during the same period.

Spending on U.S. Travel and Tourism (by Quarter)

To view this report in its entirety, please visit: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/research/programs/satellite/index.html

These estimates are from the 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. For more information on TTSAs, please visit: http://www.bea.gov/industry/iedguide.htm#ttsa_ou

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