Real spending on travel and tourism accelerated in the first quarter of 2013, increasing at an annual rate of 6.8 percent after increasing 2.1 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Commerce.


By comparison, growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 2.4 percent (second estimate) in the first quarter after increasing 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter.


The leading contributors to the acceleration in the first quarter were “passenger air transportation,” and “all other transportation-related commodities,” such as automotive rentals. “Passenger air transportation” turned up, increasing 19.0 percent in the first quarter after decreasing 2.7 percent, reflecting a notable upturn in “international passenger air transportation” and an acceleration in “domestic passenger air transportation.”


“All other transportation-related commodities” also turned up in the first quarter, increasing 8.9 percent after decreasing 1.2 percent, primarily reflecting an upturn in “automotive rental and leasing.” Partially offsetting these upturns was slower growth in “food services and drinking places” and “traveler accommodations,” which increased 2.0 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively, in the first quarter, after increasing 8.5 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.


Overall growth in prices for travel and tourism goods and services slowed in the first quarter of 2013, increasing 0.3 percent following a 2.4 percent (revised) increase in the fourth quarter. The first quarter deceleration was more than accounted for by a downturn in prices for “all other transportation-related commodities,” primarily reflecting a downturn in gasoline prices.