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April 11, 2012

U.S. Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts: Fourth Quarter 2011

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that real U.S. travel and tourism output (adjusted for changes in price) increased at an annual rate of 4.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, following an increase of 0.6 percent (revised) in the third quarter of 2011. By comparison, real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 3.0 percent during the fourth quarter.

“Travel and tourism is an important service export and the growth in this industry touches communities across America,” said Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez. “This ongoing growth of international visitors coming to see America means more jobs and more economic prosperity.”

  • Tourism Spending. Real spending on passenger air transportation turned up 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 after decreasing 3.0 percent in the third quarter. Business and leisure travel increased. Real spending on traveler accommodations increased 7.4 percent in the fourth quarter after decreasing 0.7 percent in the third quarter.

  • Tourism Prices. Prices for passenger air transportation accelerated, increasing 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter after increasing 3.0 percent in the third quarter. Airlines continued to increase fares in the fourth quarter to cover the increased costs of fuel. Prices for traveler accommodations turned down, decreasing 8.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 after increasing 11.9 percent in the third quarter.

  • Tourism Employment. Employment in the travel and tourism industries increased 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 after increasing 1.7 percent in the third quarter. Most industries saw increases in employment with the exception of traveler accommodations, air transportation services, and recreation and entertainment, which experienced declines. The largest increase was in food services and drinking places, which increased 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter.

Change in 'Real U.S. Travel and Tourism  Output  vs. GDP'
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Travel and Tourism Satellite Account (TTSA).

The Bureau of Economic Analysis, through funding provided by the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, produces the U.S Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts (TTSAs) from which these estimates were derived.

Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts form an indispensable statistical instrument that allows the United States to measure the relative size and importance of the travel and tourism industry, along with its contribution to gross domestic product (GDP).

Approved by the United Nations in March 2002 and endorsed by the U.N. Statistical Commission, TTSAs have become the international standard by which travel and tourism is measured. In fact, more than fifty countries around the world have embraced travel and tourism satellite accounting as the only comprehensive, comparable, and credible measure of travel and tourism and its impact on national economies.

For more information on TTSAs, please visit: < http://www.bea.gov/industry/iedguide.htm#ttsa_ou>.

To view the Q4 2011 release in its entirety, visit: < http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/industry/tourism/2012/pdf/tour411.pdf >.

Subscribe to the Bureau of Economic Analysis' TTSA newsletter:
< http://service.govdelivery.com/service/multi_subscribe.html?code=USBEA>.