phia (OEF), whose company compiles WTTC statistics, “It’s easy to figure out how much consumers spend
on soft drinks or even automobiles,”
which are fairly straightforward
Travel, on the other hand, has many
overlapping components and many
ways to count. As Sachs put it, “
Tourism is a compilation of many industries and 100% of none.”
But industry leaders agree that it’s
important to do the counting because
it demonstrates to governments how
large the industry is and helps players in the industry itself know how to
Continued on Page 26
How’m I doin’? Travel industry has need to know
Putting a number on the U.S. travel business is a
complicated process, and the experts wisely advise
against arriving at a total by simply adding airline
revenue to hotel revenue, car rental revenue and cruise
For one thing, data provided by suppliers or supplier
associations often include the overseas activities of U.S.
companies, sometimes mixed with the U.S. activities of
Also, some significant U.S. travel companies are not
publicly traded and do not publish verifiable data on revenue and sales. This is particularly true of car rental companies and tour operators. It is also true of some sizeable
hotel chains, such as Hyatt and Radisson.
In addition, in some sectors of the industry, including car
rentals and restaurants, spending by travelers is not always
broken out from spending by local residents.
Still, that doesn’t stop us from trying.
The Travel Industry Association (TIA) estimated 2005
expenditures on travel and tourism in the U.S. at $646
billion. The TIA derives its figures from a variety of
sources, including its own research department and from
various agencies of the U.S. Department of Commerce,
such as the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Office
of Travel and Tourism Industries.
Continued on Page 26
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