How the Recession Has Affected Tourism Spending

The recession that began in 2008 has affected household expenditure trends in nearly every economic sector. While overall expenditure figures have remained relatively constant since 2005, the categories in which people spend their money have drastically changed. One of the most dramatic changes is in the area of tourism.

Drop in Tourism Spending

The largest drop in tourism spending was between the years 2006 and 2009. An infographic by Swift Money indicates that consumer spending on tourism decreased by over 62% in those three years. Tourism spending has continued to drop since 2009, but at a much less drastic rate.

The large drop in tourism spending was also seen in the hotel industry. Between 2008 and 2011, the amount of spending in the restaurant and hotel sector dropped by 10%. However, this sector has recovered in recent years. Now the expenditure data for the hotel sector is nearly identical to the data from before the recession.

Alternate Categories of Spending

Since consumers have maintained a relatively steady amount of total yearly expenditure for the last 10 years, it’s important to compare different economic sectors to see how people have changed their spending habits. As we’ve seen, tourism spending has dropped dramatically, but that money is clearly being applied to other industries. Spending on clothing and footwear has seen a steady increase since 1997, without being affected by the recessions—so this accounts for some of the data. Another large increase occurred in the health sector: spending on health is up since 1997 by over 43%, which is an unusually large amount.

As the cost of everyday living expenses continues to increase, other sectors will suffer downward trends as long as overall spending in the economy remains stable. The only way expenditures will increase in every industry is for the overall economy to recover and total expenditure figures to rise.