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U.S. Commerce Department Announces Strong Outlook for International Visitors Through 2015

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that international visitation to the United States is projected to increase nine percent in 2010, setting a new record of 60 million visitors in a year.  In addition, growth in the travel and tourism industry is projected to increase to nearly 83 million visitors by 2015 – a 51 percent increase over 2009.

“The travel and tourism industry’s remarkable growth this year is good news for our small- and medium-sized businesses, which account for more than 80 percent of the travel and tourism industry,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “The Obama administration is committed to continuing our robust efforts to attract foreign visitors to the U.S., and we recognize the critical role the industry plays in making the National Export Initiative a success.”

President Obama’s National Export Initiative is an unprecedented, government-wide effort to double exports by 2015, supporting several million American jobs. The U.S. travel and tourism industry consistently runs a trade surplus.

The October forecast represents a significant upward revision from May and reflects robust economic growth forecasted through 2015 from Asia (+101 percent) and South America (+92 percent).  Individual country performances over the next five years are expected to be led by China (346 percent), Brazil (198 percent), South Korea (171 percent), and India (123 percent).

The forecast considers the potential effect, beginning in 2014, of the international marketing efforts of the new Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP), which was formed as a result of the Travel Promotion Act of 2009.  The goal of the CTP is to promote the United States as a premier destination to international travelers.

The Travel Forecast is prepared by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries and is based on numerous factors including recent visitor volume trends, and forecasted economic, demographic, and travel trends.