Real spending on travel and tourism increased at an annual rate of 6.4 percent in 2009:3 after increasing 0.2 percent (revised) in 2009:2.  By comparison, real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 2.8 percent (second estimate) in 2009:3 after decreasing 0.7 percent in 2009:2.  Despite the rebound, real travel and tourism spending was still below its 2007:3 peak. Travel and tourism prices increased 6.7 percent in 2009:3 after decreasing 3.7 percent (revised) in 2009:2.  Transportation was the largest contributor to growth in travel and tourism spending in 2009:3.

Passenger air transportation spending accelerated — increasing 26.3 percent at an annual rate in 2009:3 after increasing 10.7 percent (revised) in 2009:2.  This marked recovering business travel on both domestic and international routes.

Spending on accommodations turned up — increasing 17.0 percent in 2009:3 after decreasing 1.5 percent (revised) in 2009:2.  The turnaround reflected increased occupancy rates (primarily leisure travelers) and declines in accommodations prices.

The largest contributor to price change this quarter was gasoline purchased by auto travelers, which spiked in 2009:3.  Prices for passenger air transportation reversed their downward trend, increasing 2.1 percent in 2009:3 after decreasing 29.8 percent (revised) in 2009:2.  Accommodations prices continued to decline, decreasing 4.7 percent in 2009:3 after falling 6.8 percent in 2009:2 (revised).

Direct tourism-related employment fell 1.7 percent in 2009:3, compared to the 4.8 percent (revised) decline in 2009:2.  By comparison, overall U.S. employment decreased 2.7 percent in 2009:3 and decreased 4.5 percent (revised) in 2009:2.  Almost all travel and tourism industries reduced employment.  Only recreation and entertainment experienced growth, 0.8 percent in 2009:3.

Real Tourism Spending. Spending on passenger air transportation accelerated strongly, increasing 26.3 percent in 2009:3, after increasing 10.7 percent in 2009:2. Traveler accommodations turned up, rising 17.0 percent after a decline of 1.5 percent (revised) in the previous quarter. Airlines experienced improved business demand as companies began easing restrictions on travel, and accommodations saw increased demand from both business and leisure travel.Tourism Prices. Prices for passenger air transportation reversed their trend of the last three quarters — rising 2.1 percent in 2009:3 following a decrease of 29.8 percent (revised) in 2009:2. Prices for domestic flights increased this quarter, while prices for international flights continued to decline. Prices for accommodations decreased 4.7 percent after falling 6.8 percent in the previous quarter. Occupancy increased as leisure travelers responded to lower room rates.

Tourism Employment. Employment in air transportation services decreased 3.9 percent in 2009:3 after decreasing 4.9 percent in 2009:2. Employment in accommodations services decreased 3.1 percent in 2009:3 after decreasing 8.5 percent in the prior quarter. Both airlines and accommodations reduced employment during the downturn in order to reduce costs.

Total Tourism-Related Spending. The U.S. production generated by tourism spending not only includes the goods and services that are purchased directly, but also the inputs used to produce these goods and services — indirect tourism-related spending. In 2009:3, total current-dollar tourism- related spending was $1.3 trillion and consisted of $716.2 billion (57 percent) of direct tourism spending — goods and services sold directly to visitors — and $549.8 billion (43 percent) of indirect tourism-related spending — goods and services used to produce what visitors buy.

Total Tourism-Related Employment. In 2009:3, total tourism-related employment was 8.2 million and consisted of 5.6 million (69 percent) direct tourism jobs — jobs where workers produce goods and services sold directly to visitors — and 2.6 million (31 percent) indirect tourism-related jobs — jobs where workers produce goods and services used to produce what visitors buy.