Struggling to silence pesky naysayers who still doubt the importance of travel in jumpstarting the sluggish U.S. economy? Here’s a number to add to your ammo clip: US$772.9 billion. That’s the amount spent by domestic and international travelers in the U.S. in 2008.
But wait, there’s more! According to the U.S. Travel Association’s annual report about the impact of travel on state economies released last week, U.S. travel also generated:
- 7.7 million jobs;
- US$194.1 billion of payroll income; and
- US$117.3 billion of tax revenues for federal, state and local governments.
No matter how you shake it, those are pretty big numbers. That US$772.9 billion tally, for example, is only slightly less than the whopping US$787 billion called for in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
What’s also impressive are the gains seen in 2008, despite a horrendous fourth quarter:
- Travel expenditures increased 4.7 percent during 2007, not adjusted for inflation;
- U.S. domestic travelers spent 3.3 percent more in 2008;
- international visitor spending increased 14.2 percent; and
- leisure travel spending increased 6.7 percent, while business travel spending was up 0.9 percent.
The report breaks down domestic travel into segments, such as public transportation, foodservices and lodging. The latter segment tallied US$113.9 billion in expenditures, 1.2 million jobs and US$42.1 billion of payroll for the year.
The state data is a bit less timely, if not compelling, as it’s compiled for 2007. California led the ranks with US$96.7 billion of travel expenditures, followed by Florida (US$68.9 billion), New York (US$51.3 billion) and Texas (US$47.4 billion).
Of course, the truly revealing analysis will come in next year’s report, when we can actually see how the downturn and ill will toward travel has impacted the industry in 2009.
For those interested in acquiring a copy of this year’s report to bide the time, it can be purchased here.