The Outdoor Industry Association in the U.S. has put out a new economic impact study, updating the last one from six years ago. “The Outdoor Recreation Economy 2012” lays out the relationship between spending on outdoor gear and travel: for $1 that Americans spend on outdoor products and vehicles, they also put out $4 on trips and travel expenses related to these activities.
Total sales of outdoor recreation products (apparel, footwear, equipment, vehicles, accessories and services) hit $120.7 billion last year; related travel costs (food/drink, transportation, entertainment/activities, lodging, souvenirs/gifts) contributed $524.8 billion.
The total outlay of $645.5 billion was almost double the $340 billion that American households spent on motor vehicles and parts, $354 billion that went to gasoline and other fuels, $331 billion for pharmaceuticals, and $309 billion spent on household utilities.
OIA found that U.S. spending on outdoor recreation, including travel expenses, went up by about 5 percent every year between 2005 and 2011, even during the economic recession. In the first quarter of this year, spending on travel and tourism-related recreation rose by 3.7 percent, compared with a drop of 2.8 percent in the same period last year, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Records show that spending on travel and tourism rose by 3.4 percent in the first quarter of this year, after a 4.4 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2011. The country's gross domestic product rose by just 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter, after a rise of 3.0 percent in the last quarter of 2011. Most of the increase in tourism spending is attributable to lodging, food and beverages.