International travel spending in the U.S. has surged nearly 9 percent so far this year, reports David Huether, senior vice president of research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association in his analysis of the latest trade data released by the Department of Commerce.
Huether notes this is almost four times faster than the 2.3 percent increase in other U.S. exports of goods and services. As a result, the travel industry has generated 24 percent of the overall increase in U.S. exports through November compared to the same timeframe last yearimpressive for an industry that makes up only eight percent of total U.S. exports.
Overall, travel exports rose to $15.3 billion in November 2013, increasing for the eighth time in the past eleven months.
Increased spending by international travelers to the U.S. is one of the key reasons the travel industry has been creating jobs faster than the rest of the economy and has already made up 97 percent of the jobs lost during the great recession, Huether said. To build on this success, Huether urged policymakers to advance policies that continue to increase international visitation, such as the JOLT Act.
The news follows the release of a study by the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) predicting a rise in domestic travel demand as well. Of those traveling, nearly 70 percent said they will take one to two trips next year, with another 30 percent reporting three or more trips.
Other positive economic indicators include a year-end rebound in consumer confidence. Consumer confidence rebounded in December and is now close to pre-government shutdown levels in September 2013, reported Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, toward the end of December.