International visitors spent an estimated $13.9 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States in May 2012—$1 billion, or 8 percent, more than what was spent in May 2011, the U.S. Department of Commerce reports.
The U.S. travel and tourism industry is on pace for a record-setting year—international visitors have spent an estimated $68.4 billion thus far in 2012, an increase of 12 percent when compared to the same five-month period last year, Commerce said.
Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank announced the new data during a Travel and Tourism Advisory Board meeting in Dearborn, MI. “The new international spending numbers mark 29 consecutive months of growth in the travel and tourism sector. Tourism remains a high-growth bright spot in our economy, and we’re on pace for yet another record year,” said Blank.
During the board meeting, members discussed implementation of the recently released National Travel and Tourism Strategy. The National Strategy is a blueprint for the Federal government to welcome 100 million international visitors each year by the end of 2021. The visitors would spend an estimated $250 billion per year, supporting more jobs and spurring economic growth in communities across the country.
Commerce said that purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors to the United States totaled $10.6 billion during May. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the United States, and other items incidental to foreign travel. Fares received by U.S. carriers from international visitors also increased by more than 8 percent to $3.3 billion for the month.
Americans have also spent nearly $50 billion abroad year to date—resulting in an $18.4 billion trade surplus for travel and tourism through the first five months of 2012. These positive trends are helping to advance the President’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014, Commerce said.