WASHINGTON – Real spending (output) on travel and tourism turned down in the fourth quarter of 2016, decreasing at an annual rate of 3.3 percent after increasing 3.7 percent (revised) in the third quarter according to new statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In contrast, real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter after increasing 3.5 percent in the third. For the year, travel and tourism grew 2.3 percent, a deceleration from the 4.7 percent growth in 2015.

The leading contributors to the fourth-quarter downturn in travel and tourism were “Passenger air transportation” and “Traveler accommodations.” “Passenger air transportation” decreased 15.1 percent after increasing 2.0 percent (revised) in the previous quarter. “Traveler accommodations” decreased 5.9 percent after increasing 8.3 percent (revised) in the third quarter.

  • Tourism Prices. Prices for travel and tourism goods and services accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2016, increasing 9.1 percent following an increase of less than 0.01 percent (revised) in the third quarter. The acceleration was attributable to the upturn in price growth for “All other transportation-related commodities,” which increased 16.2 percent in the fourth quarter after declining 2.4 percent in the third. Prices for “Passenger air transportation” also contributed to the acceleration, increasing 17.8 percent in the fourth after increasing 0.2 percent previously. For 2016, prices for travel and tourism goods and services grew 1.5 percent, an upturn from a 3.1 percent decline in 2015.
  • Tourism Employment. Employment in the travel and tourism industries decelerated in the fourth quarter, increasing 0.7 percent after increasing 1.6 percent (revised) in the third quarter. “Traveler accommodations" was the most significant contributor to the deceleration, subtracting 2,300 jobs in the fourth quarter. “Food services and drinking places” was the second largest contributor to the deceleration, adding 8,700 jobs in the fourth quarter, after adding 11,400 jobs in the third.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis, through funding provided by the International Trade Administration, National Travel and Tourism Office, produces the U.S. Travel and Tourism Satellite Account (TTSA) 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://travel.trade..gov/research/programs/satellite/index.asp>.

To view the Q4 2016 report in its entirety, please visit: <http://travel.trade.gov/research/programs/satellite/tour416.pdf>.

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