Real spending on travel and tourism grew more than twice as fast as real gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter, according to government estimates released Wednesday, March 18.
Growth in spending accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2014, increasing at an annual rate of 4.5 percent after increasing 3.4 percent (revised) in the third quarter. By comparison, real GDP decelerated, increasing 2.2 percent (second estimate) in the fourth quarter after increasing 5.0 percent. For the year, real spending on travel and tourism increased 2.5 percent in 2014 after increasing 3.6 percent in 2013. By comparison, real GDP increased 2.4 percent in 2014 after increasing 2.2 percent in 2013.
The leading contributors to the acceleration in the fourth quarter were “passenger air transportation” and “recreation and entertainment.” “Passenger air transportation” turned up, increasing 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter after decreasing 4.5 percent in the third quarter. “Recreation and entertainment” also turned up, increasing 6.2 percent after decreasing 0.9 percent. Partially offsetting these upturns, “traveler accommodations” turned down, decreasing 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter after increasing 8.3 percent.
The figures align with reports from several North American mountain resort companies, which have reported that guest spending on ski and snowboard lessons, food and restaurants and other ancillary services outpaced growth in skier visitation during the quarter.