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Travel and Tourism Sector Supports 7.8 Million Jobs and Accounts for 2.8% of U.S GDP in 2018

The travel and tourism industry—as measured by the real output of goods and services sold directly to visitors—increased 4.2 percent in 2018, according to the most recent statistics from the Travel and Tourism Satellite Account (TTSA) published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). This is an acceleration from the 2.3 percent growth in 2017. These new statistics show growth in the travel and tourism industry for the last 9 years. Employment in the travel and tourism industry grew more slowly than real output, growing 1.5 percent in 2018.

Other highlights from the TTSA include:

  • Real output increased 4.2 percent in 2018. This growth was driven by increases in domestic passenger air transportation, gasoline, and traveler accommodations.
  • Overall growth accelerated from the 2.3 percent growth in 2017. The drivers of the acceleration were increased growth in gasoline, food and beverage services, and domestic passenger air transportation.
  • Prices for tourism goods and services increased 2.9 percent in 2018. Driving this increase was an increase in gasoline and domestic and international passenger air transportation services.

These TTSA statistics incorporated newly available source data from BEA Industry Economic Accounts (IEAs) and National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs) and several methodological improvements that were incorporated in the comprehensive update of the IEAs. These statistics also incorporated the most recent annual update to the IEAs that was released October 29th, 2019. The incorporation of the annual update allowed this release of the TTSA to contain the full suite of products for 2018 as well as revised estimates for the full set of accounts from 1998–2017.

The complete set of detailed annual statistics for 1998 through 2018 are available on the BEA website.

The remainder of this article includes a discussion of trends in travel and tourism output and prices, tourism value added, and employment. The final section discusses changes in methodology in this update.

For more information, visit the Bureau of Economic Analysis blog on Travel and Tourism Industry Grows in 2018. 

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