Blog: International Visitor Market Research
Establishing better baseline metrics
Budget Cuts at DOC Jeopardizes Promotion of International VisitorsBy Scott Johnson on 05 May 2010 - 13:00
Budget Cuts at DOC Jeopardizes Promotion of International Visitors.
The Office of Travel and Tourism Industries budget is getting hit hard just as the industry needs reliable metrics. The government's role to measure the size and importance of the travel industry is at stake. Improvements needed to provide states and cities with vital visitor metrics is at stake.
The budget cuts mean:
No output metrics for international visitor arrivals.
No employment figures as a result of international visitor arrivals.
No total U.S. travel and tourism-related sales/expenditures.
Cutting funding, including funding for the Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts (TTSA's), the Travel Trade Barometer, the annual Forecast, and funding to revise the Survey of International Air Travelers questionnaire will have an impact on our nation's ability to promote and grow our exports.
For now, let's just highlight the TTSA. The TTSA's form an indispensable statistical instrument that allows the United States to measure the relative size and importance of the travel and tourism industry, along with its contribution to gross domestic product (GDP). The TTSAs have become the international standard by which travel and tourism is measured. In fact, more than fifty countries around the world have embraced travel and tourism satellite accounting. The travel and tourism industry is an amalgam of various industries (e.g., traveler accommodations, food and beverage establishments, air transportation, et al). Therefore, no single North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code exists for travel and tourism in our national economic accounts, thereby making real credible, comprehensive, and comparable measurements virtually impossible.
The TTSA's enable the Department of Commerce to accurately measure the aggregate travel and tourism industry. More importantly, TTSAs allow the Department to measure the travel and tourism industries’ competitiveness relative to other U.S. industries, along with measuring the overall competitiveness of the United States relative to other countries. The Bureau of Economic Analysis, through funding provided by the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, produces quarterly and annual TTSA data, both of which include:
* Direct and indirect travel and tourism-related output
* Direct and indirect travel and tourism-related employment
* Total U.S. travel and tourism-related sales/expenditures Additionally, annual Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts data provide the industry with:
* Output and employment data for twenty-six (26) individual industries
* Value-added contribution of travel and tourism to the U.S. economy (GDP)
* Supply of, and demand for, travel and tourism commodities
* Disaggregated demand data of household, business, government, and nonresident demand for American travel and tourism-related goods and services
Question: So why are these cuts happening? And what does the industry need to do to make sure the Department of Commerce recognizes the folly of these vital cuts? For me - I am sending a letter to Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Francisco J. Sánchez to ask him to strongly consider augmenting the budget shortfalls for the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries research programs.
Are these cuts important to your ability to export travel and tourism services?