Journal of Tourism & Hospitality

Journal of Tourism & Hospitality
Open Access

ISSN: 2167-0269


Measuring Tourist Spending Impacts of the October 2013 U.S. Government Shut-down

Morse SC and Smith EM

The U.S. Federal Government shut-down from October 1-15, 2013 caused major public outdoor recreational venues to be shut-down during the most visited month of the year in October. In western North Carolina, the publically owned recreational activities closed and shut-down in 16 counties bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and containing recreational activities in three U.S. National Forests. The purpose of the study was to use and evaluate two methods to measure the impact of this 15 day U.S. Federal Government shut-down on tourist spending in the 16 county focus area of western North Carolina. The first method used taxable sales data adjusted for inflation obtained from the North Carolina Department of Revenue for October 2013 and were compared to taxable sales for the five year average period 2008-2012. Analysis shows that 7 out of the 16 counties saw decreases in taxable sales for October 2013 over the five year average, and 9 counties saw increases in taxable sales when comparing the two periods. The overall 16 county regions experienced a 2.28 percent increase in taxable sales over the two periods. The second method used October daily data on hotel room demand from Smith Travel Research for five selected counties during the shutdown period (October 1-15), and after the shutdown ended (October 16-31). When October 2013 hotel room demand is compared to the same period 2012, the analysis showed three of the five counties saw decreases in hotel room demand during the shutdown period, and all five counties experienced increases in hotel room demand after the shutdown ended. In evaluating the two methods used to measure tourist spending in the area, while both methods have limitations, the second method using Smith Travel Research data offered a more robust analysis because it reported daily hotel rooms sold.