I noticed via a recent Mtrip newsletter, that the US Department of Commerce recently released 1st quarter travel and tourism spending numbers and they have some “interesting” numbers to look at. To me, the most impressive data is this chart:

Real Tourism Spending

This is a pretty amazing way of showing that in terms of constant dollar spend, the US tourism economy has definitely not recovered and that the uphill movement that we saw through 2010 appears to be plateauing  in the first quarter of this year. While that isn’t too amazing, considering rising oil prices and the fact that winters often are slower travel months, what is impressive is that in 2005 dollars, the spend in the first quarter of 2011 has not yet recovered to 2004 levels – yikes!

Also impressive is data found in the detailed report (PDF) in which “recreation and entertainment” spend/quarter can be compared from 2007 to 2011 and it moves from 89,622 to 77,051 (in millions of chained 2005 dollars), which certainly shows that ski resorts and other tourism recreation businesses should still have some serious concerns about the consumer’s pocketbook.

Obviously this report is looking at actual numbers and isn’t forward looking, but among prognosticators there’s some talk of a double-dip recession, and if that were to happen, one has to wonder how much lower the ski jump chart of tourism spending can go.