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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Highlights Record Growth in International Travel to the United States in 2010

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced that a record-breaking 60 million international visitors arrived in the United States in 2010 – shattering the previous record set in 2000 by 17 percent. These international travelers spent more than $134 billion during their visits, a 12 percent increase from 2009.

“The travel and tourism industry is playing an important role in strengthening the U.S. economy, helping to support the 17-percent increase in U.S. exports we saw in 2010,” Locke said. “This growth, along with a focused export promotion strategy, is moving us closer to achieving President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.”

Travel and tourism is a $1.3 trillion sector of the U.S. economy, supporting 7.8 million American jobs. In 2010, the United States had a surplus of nearly $32 billion in travel and tourism, an increase of 50 percent over 2009.

Virtually every sector of the economy benefits from an increase in international visitors.

“More visitors to the U.S. means more people eating in our restaurants, shopping in our malls and visiting our attractions, which leads to more U.S. jobs,” Locke said.

In 2010, seven of the top 10 countries for U.S. overseas visitation posted new records: France, Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Italy, the People’s Republic of China and India. These markets led to a record 26 million combined overseas visitors, surpassing the record set by these countries in 2000.

The Commerce Department’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries within the International Trade Administration is responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating international travel and tourism statistics for the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System. For more monthly or annual travel and tourism-related data and market research, visit