The drop in travel exports in September is but a brief blip in an otherwise watershed year for international travel spending in the U.S., David Huether, senior vice president of research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association says.
Huether offered his analysis of the Commerce Department announcement that the trade deficit rose by $3.1 billion in September 2013 to $41.8 billion. A $0.4 billion fall in total exports was augmented by a $2.7 billion increase in imports from August.
"After rising six of the prior 8 months of the year, travel exports edged down $0.3 billion to $14.9 billion in September 2013. While down from a previous all-time high of $15.2 billion in August, travel exports have experienced robust growth so far this year and have outperformed other U.S. exports of goods and services," Huether said.
''Through the first three quarters of this year, travel exports are up 8.3 percent compared to the first eight months of 2012, which is over five times faster than the 1.6 percent increase in other U.S. exports so far this year. As a result, the travel industry has generated a remarkable 29 percent of the overall increase in U.S. exports so far this year compared to last year, not bad for an industry that makes up 7.9 percent of total U.S. exports," according to Huether.
"And while the economy has accumulated an overall trade deficit of $360 billion through the first three quarters of this year, the travel industry continues to expand its trade surplus, which has risen to $42 billion so far this year, or 21 percent higher than travels trade surplus this time last year."
"The U.S. has significant competitive advantages in the rapidly growing international travel economy, our county has world class destinations and lower consumer costs than many countries that together makes the U.S. an attractive place to visit, " Huether said.
"And with travel exports support more than a million American workers and is one of the primary reasons why the travel industry has been creating jobs at a faster pace than the rest of the economy over the past three years, policy makers would be wise to enact common sense policies that will make it easier for the rapidly expanding global middle class to come to America."
"We urge policymakers to support critical proposals to boost travel, such as the JOLT Act, which would increase international spending in the United States and create more American jobs," Huether said.