Art Works Blog

Taking Note: Performing Arts & Film Revenue Considered as Tourism Dollars

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), under the U.S. Department of Commerce, recently announced that goods and services sold to tourists and travelers reached $814 billion in 2011. Travel and tourism, it should be noted, is not a unique economic industry. Rather, it consists of the share of output sold to visitors by a number of travel-related industries, including traveler accommodations such as hotels, food services and drinking places, air travel and taxi services, and entertainment and recreation.

The BEA tracks the share of goods and services sold to visitors, as well as travel and tourism employment and contribution to GDP (referred to as “value added”) through its Travel and Tourism Satellite Account (TTSA). The account shows, for instance, that 29 percent of taxi services ($4 billion) are sold to tourists and business travelers. Restaurants and bars sell 18 percent (more than $100 billion) of their goods and services to visitors, and nearly all (93 percent) of charter bus services are sold to tourists and travelers.

In addition to spectator sports and gambling, which sell 22 percent and 49 percent of their output, respectively, to visitors, the TTSA’s recreation and entertainment category includes output sold to visitors by the combined motion picture and performing arts industry. The BEA estimates that 11 percent of goods and services produced by motion pictures and the performing arts are sold to tourists and travelers. In 2010, that amounted to $7 billion in goods and services and $4.6 billion in value added.

The TTSA shows that travel and tourism is recovering from the severe U.S. economic recession of December 2007 through June 2009. Real growth in travel and tourism (goods and services sold to visitors) slowed to 1.8 percent in 2007, and then fell sharply through 2008 and 2009, when travel and tourism decreased 9.4 percent. However, the BEA recently announced that real travel and tourism increased by 3.1 percent in 2011, after increasing 2.9 percent in 2010.

Motion picture and performing arts travel and tourism is also recovering from the recession. Following three years of steep declines, real motion picture and performing arts goods and services sold to visitors increased by a small but positive rate of 0.2 percent in 2011.

The TTSA also tracks employment. In 2010, nearly 5.4 million people were directly employed in travel and tourism; motion picture and performing arts travel and tourism employed 20,000 workers. However, travel and tourism employment, too, is recovering from the 2007-2009 recession. The travel and tourism industries added 1.82 percentage points to economy-wide employment growth in 2011, but this followed 8.35 and 1.44 percentage point subtractions from employment in 2009 and 2010.

Motion picture and performing arts travel and tourism contributed no employment growth to the U.S. economy in 2011. But zero employment growth was an improvement from the 0.02 to 0.05 percentage point subtractions to employment reported for 2007-2010.

Although motion picture and performing arts travel and tourism have not added to employment growth in recent years, its workers are, nevertheless, among the best paid. In 2010, per employee compensation of all travel and tourism workers was $35,031.  But among motion picture and performing arts travel and tourism workers, 2010 compensation averaged $80,436. Other industries with well-paid travel and tourism workers include spectator sports ($80,881), travel arrangement and reservation services ($84,604), rail transportation services ($91,052), and petroleum refineries ($189,600).

Although employing greater numbers, travel and tourism workers earn less in food and drinking services ($20,190), taxi services ($13,456), and gasoline service stations ($31,035).

Another interesting finding from the TTSA is “tourism demand” by type of visitor. Of the $873 billion in 2010 tourism demand (which is calculated as tourism output plus imports of goods and services purchased by travelers), 56 percent is consumed by U.S. domestic households (i.e., U.S. tourists) and 29 percent is consumed by business travelers. The remaining 15 percent of all tourism demand is consumed by non-U.S. residents.

By comparison, tourism demand for motion picture and performing arts commodities is more concentrated among U.S. tourists.  Of $12.8 billion in tourism demand in 2010, 64 percent, or $8.2 billion, was consumed by U.S. tourists.  Business travelers and non-U.S. travelers were 27 percent and 9 percent, respectively, of tourism demand for motion picture and performing arts commodities.

For more information about the TTSA, please see Steven Zemanek‘s article, "U.S. Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts for 2003-2011," in the June 2012 edition of the Survey of Current Business.

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