The U.S. Department of Commerce has released data showing that international visitors spent an estimated $13.9 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States in May 2012. That’s $1 billion, or 8 percent, more than what was spent in May 2011.
Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank announced the new data during a Travel and Tourism Advisory Board meeting in Dearborn, Mich., where she joined federal agency partners, in addition to U.S. Representative John Dingell (D-Mich.), for a meeting with board members to discuss the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to increase travel and tourism to the U.S.
“The new international spending numbers mark 29 consecutive months of growth in the travel and tourism sector,” said Blank. “Tourism remains a high-growth bright spot in our economy, and we’re on pace for yet another record year. The Obama administration’s number one priority remains strengthening our economy and creating jobs, and we will continue doing everything possible to make the U.S. even more welcoming to visitors to support even more American jobs.”
The Commerce Department’s new data shows that purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors to the United States totaled $10.6 billion during May. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the United States, and other items incidental to foreign travel. Fares received by U.S. airlines from international visitors also increased by more than 8 percent to $3.3 billion for the month.
According to the Commerce Department, the U.S. travel and tourism industry is on pace for a record-setting year—international visitors have spent an estimated $68.4 billion thus far in 2012, an increase of 12 percent when compared to the same five-month period last year. In contrast, Americans have also spent nearly $50 billion abroad year to date—resulting in an $18.4 billion trade surplus for travel and tourism through the first five months of 2012.