"Expenditures on travel for pleasure declined sharply in response to the recent recession, and had not yet fully recovered by 2011. In 2008, the first full year of the recent recession, consumers reported expenditures that were almost 3.5 percent lower than those reported in 2007. Reported expenditures declined another 9.8 percent in 2009, the year the recession officially ended.1 Although expenditures increased modestly (2.1 percent) in 2010, and more robustly (5.5 percent) in 2011, they were still lower than their 2007 peak. Travel expenditures are important to the average consumer, and to the economy as a whole. For consumers reporting them, expenditures on travel for pleasure averaged $4,700 in 2011. This is 22 percent more than the average consumer unit spent on food at home that year ($3,838), and well over half of what the typical renter spent on housing that year ($8,548). At the same time, the leisure and hospitality industry accounted for about 10 percent of total employment each year between 2004 and 2011."