The Office of Travel and Tourism at the US Dept. of Commerce has published its annual Year in Review report for 2009, and the facts and figures are a grim reminder of the spectacular disaster that was 2009.
US Travel Year in Review 2009
The 2009 highlights for US Travel & Tourism:-
- 54.9 million international visitors (down 3.1 million or 5% from 2008)
- $121 billion in international visitor spending (down $21 billion or 15% from 2008)
- $100 billion less output (domestic+international; down 7.4% from 2008)
- 8.2 million jobs supported (down 400,000 or 4.6% from 2008)
Regionwise, the biggest drop came from Europe, which sent 10% fewer visitors to the United States in 2009. European spending on US travel and tourism-related goods and services dropped to $10.1 billion (20% drop) in 2009.
Within Europe, the biggest drop came from the UK – 3.9 million visitors (down 15%) who spent $5 billion less (down 27%).
Americans traveling abroad also spent less in 2009 – 12% less as compared to 2008.
Subtracting the amount Americans spent abroad on travel & tourism from the amount spent by international visitors in the US, the trade surplus for 2009 comes to $22 billion – a drop of $7 billion over the 2008 surplus.
2009 was the worst year in recent history for the US Travel & Tourism sectors, comparable to the impact of 9/11. The $21 billion drop in 2009 international visitor spending is worse than the $13.3 billion drop in 2001. The 4.6% employment drop is more than that for 2001 and 2002 (1% and 3% ) put together.
How far back the 2008-2009 recession has pushed US Travel can be judged from the fact that the industry actually employed more people in 1999 than in 2009. Total spending on passenger air transportation services (direct and indirect) fell more than 16% to $158.3 billion in 2009, less than was spent in 2000.
The $100 billion drop in demand for US travel & tourism goods and services is by far the single largest contraction the industry has ever experienced.
2009 employment data by sector:-
- Food services/drinking places supported 2.5 million jobs (down 2%; lost 61,000 jobs)
- Passenger air transportation industry supported 758,000 jobs (down nearly 6%; lost 47,000 jobs)
- Traveler accommodations supported 1.6 million jobs (down nearly 6%; lost 100,000 jobs)
For more details, download the full report from the OTTI (pdf file) website.