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Something Weird’s Happening Between US GDP and Tourism.

 

One of the first things you do when you are looking at a strategy for a new tourism destination or to re-vamp an old one is to look at your demand profile.

 

Putting aside the detailed explanatory variables big picture your baseline can normally be defined by the nominal GDP of source countries. So if you know where those are going you can have a peek at the future.

 

Well that’s they way it used to work, although I last time I did that working out Dubai’s potential in 1995…long time ago. But the actual turned out pretty much like the model, so I’ve always assumed that’s a good system.

 

To check that I pulled some numbers together; this is outbound tourism expenditure of Germany, UK, Netherlands and Russia in current Yankee Dollars (converted), compared to nominal GDP for 1995, and 2000 to 2004 (that’s all the data I could get for free – (source WTO)).

 

 

That doesn’t work (comparably) for countries like USA where most of the “tourism” is people travelling from State to State, in Germany they spend about 2.8% of GDP on outbound tourism, in USA it’s about 0.8% on average.

 

But I thought I’d have a look and see if that says something run backwards.

 

This is USA GDP nominal (left hand axis in $ Billion per month) compared to outbound tourism expenditure ($ Million per month)

 

I got the tourism numbers from:

 

http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/view/m-2009-I-001/index.html

 

 

 

 

 

You can’t explain all that from Swine-Flu even though US visitors to Mexico were 46% down year on year in May 2009, and OK that’s an important destination but not the only one (about 15% of travellers normally), and in any case that scare’s over.

 

The numbers by-the way are for all travellers, so it could be a combination of business and leisure, but either way, either Americans have radically changed the way they travel abroad, or perhaps there’s something fishy about those GDP numbers?

 

The tourism numbers are only up to November 2009, so perhaps something will turn up, either way there is the possibility there was a game-changer in there somewhere?

 


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