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TI News: An information service from Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI)

December 22, 2009

International Visitor Spending in the United States: A Year in Decline

Travel and Tourism-Related Exports Decline Twelve Consecutive Months

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that international visitors spent an estimated $10.3 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the month of October—nearly $1.6 billion less (13 percent) than was spent in October 2008. Total international visitor spending is down $18.6 billion (16 percent) year to date (January-October).

  • Travel Receipts: Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $8.0 billion during October, a decrease of more than 12 percent in comparison with 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.
  • Passenger Fare Receipts: Fares received by U.S. carriers (and U.S. vessel operators) from international visitors declined nearly 16 percent to $2.2 billion for the month, a decrease of more than $420 million when compared to October 2008.

October 2009 marks the twelfth consecutive month in which U.S. travel and tourism-related exports were lower when compared to the same period of the previous year.

Monthly U.S. Travel and Tourism Exports (Receipts)

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis (December 2009).

Monthly Travel and Tourism Highlights

  • Year-to-date travel and tourism-related exports totaled $100.9 billion, down nearly 16 percent ($18.6 billion) when compared to 2008.
  • International visitors are not the only ones who have curtailed their spending; in fact, year-to-date travel and tourism-related imports—spending by Americans abroad— totaled $81.6 billion, down nearly 13 percent ($12.1 billion).
  • The U.S. travel and tourism industry has generated a $19.2 billion trade surplus (i.e., exports minus imports) year to date, a 25 percent less favorable balance of trade when compared to last year.
  • The recent downturn in U.S. travel and tourism exports, beginning in the closing months of 2008, interrupted more than sixty consecutive months of positive growth.

Monthly U.S. Travel and Tourism Exports (Receipts)

Total U.S. Travel and Tourism Exports = Travel Receipts + Passenger Fares Receipts
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis (December 2009).

The U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating international travel and tourism statistics for the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System. For more monthly travel and tourism-related trade data dating back to 1992, please visit:
< http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/outreachpages/download_data_table/Monthly_Exports_Imports_Balance.xls >.