Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts 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). Approved
by the United Nations in March 2002 and endorsed by the U.N. Statistical Commission,
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
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.
Based on, and an extension of, the U.S. Input-Output Accounts (I-O), the U.S. travel and
tourism satellite accounts 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
The travel and tourism industry recognizes the need for one consistent, comparable, and
credible set of data highlighting the importance of one of America’s largest employers.
Recent Senate testimony by the Department of Commerce and industry leaders fortifies
this need—three different testimonies cited three different measurements of the travel and
tourism industry. The industry is only now embracing the numbers produced by the
Department of Commerce, realizing the need of one set of credible accounts for a
national number. TTSAs should become a permanent fixture in our country’s national