Travel Spending Climbs to Pre-Recession Levels

Visa Inc. offers some good news for the travel industry in its new 2011 Travel Snapshot report. The report highlights key spending insights from Visa account holders traveling to and from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

Credit card giant Visa reports account holders from these countries continued to increase spending on international travel-related purchases from 2010 to 2011, building momentum toward pre-recession levels according to VisaVue Travel data. Travelers from the United States increased tourism spending on their Visa accounts by seven percent, those from Canada by 11 percent, and Mexico by 19 percent.

Most notably, travelers from Brazil increased international travel spend on their Visa accounts by 32 percent in 2011 - 43 percent of which was in the United States, Visa reports.

"Visa works closely with governments and tourism entities to connect merchants to the more than 2.3 billion Visa global account holders and provides a convenient, secure and reliable payment experience for international travelers," said Ava Kelly, head of global affluent and cross border initiatives at Visa Inc.

"Tourism is a key contributor to economic growth so this upward trend in international travel expenditures can provide some welcome revenues for growing countries like Mexico and Brazil as well as the U.S. and Canada."

Travel Spending Trends:
    •    United States: Brazil and China proved to be significant corridors for travel to the United States. Visa account holders from Brazil increased spending on travel to the United States by 41 percent, from $1.9 billion in 2010 to $2.7 billion in 2011, edging out the U.K. as the second highest total contributor to U.S. tourism revenue. Visa account holders from China increased travel spend within the United States by 61 percent, from $741 million in 2010 to $942 million in 2011. Similarly, Visa account holders from the United States increased travel spend in China by 27 percent, from $741 million in 2010 to $941 million in 2011.
    •    Canada: While Visa account holders from the United States ($3.5 billion), France ($351 million) and the United Kingdom ($348 million) remained the top three contributors to Canadian tourism, Visa account holders from China had one of the most significant increases with a 41 percent increase year over year, from $229 million in 2010 to $321 million in 2011.
    •    Mexico: Visa account holders increased spending in Mexico by six percent in 2011. While Russian account holders increased travel spending in Mexico by 73 percent, travelers from South America also showed more interest in Mexico with Argentina (+58 percent), Brazil (+56 percent), Peru (+30 percent) and Colombia (+30 percent) following Russia with the greatest increases in travel spend to Mexico in 2011.
    •    Brazil: While the United States remains the top destination of choice for Visa account holders from Brazil, most European nations recognized double digit increases in travel spend by Brazilian Visa account holders in 2011. Spending by Brazilian Visa account holders increased by 30 percent in France, 44 percent in Italy and 41 percent in the United Kingdom.


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