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Travel and Tourism Industry on Pace for Record Exports in 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

International Visitor Spending in July 2012 $350 Million More Than July 2011

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that international visitors spent an estimated $13.7 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the month of July—$350 million (3 percent) more than was spent in July 2011. Travel and tourism-related exports have increased, on average, more than $1.1 billion a month during the first seven months of 2012.

“The travel data released today shows that tourism remains one of the bright spots in our economy, and the travel and tourism industry is on pace to reach record export levels this year,” said Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. “The Obama Administration’s number one priority remains strengthening our economy and creating jobs, and making the U.S. the top destination for international visitors will help us reach that goal.”

International visitors spent an estimated $10.5 billion on travel and tourism-related goods and services while traveling within the United States in July 2012 – an increase of four percent when compared to last year. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the United States, and other items incidental to foreign travel.

Year to date, international visitors have spent an estimated $95.4 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services – an increase of more than nine percent when compared to the same period last year.

Also today, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts estimates for the second quarter of 2012. These accounts present a detailed picture of travel and tourism activity and its role in the U.S. economy, presenting estimates of spending by tourists, or visitors, on six categories of goods and serviced as well as estimates of the employment generated by travel and tourism and their related industries. Today’s data reveal that real spending on travel and tourism increased at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2012 after increasing 4.9 percent (revised) in the first quarter of 2012.

In the second quarter of 2012, the travel and tourism industry supported 7.6 million jobs—with international travel supporting 1.2 million of those jobs.

All of these numbers underscore the importance of the travel and tourism industry to the U.S. economy – and the Administration’s efforts to attract more international visitors to the United States – including welcoming them when they arrive.

Also today, the White House released a progress report from the Departments of State and Homeland Security that outlines the activities underway to meet the President’s goal of boosting the travel and tourism industry in the United States.  This report discusses the steps taken to achieve the President’s visa and foreign visitor processing goals and the current progress of these and other measures to significantly bolster international travel and tourism.

These efforts are all part of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Interior presented to the president in May, as a blueprint to increase international travel to the United States in order to build on this growing sector of the economy. The strategy lays out concrete steps to be taken in five key areas, in addition to the goal of increasing international visitors to the United States. As part of those efforts, the Commerce Department is continuing to supply the travel and tourism industry with important data, including international arrivals to the U.S., the forecast of international travel to America for more than 30 countries, and estimates of the total impact of travel and tourism on the economy, among other services.

To learn more about Commerce’s efforts to promote travel and tourism within the U.S., visit