Tourism Industries International Travel and Forecast for the US - Chart #11
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This will start tipping the balance of trade as well. The combined effect of volatile global economic conditions and the increased projected international travel by U.S. residents will start to affect the travel trade surplus we have enjoyed over the past years. In 1998, we produced an $18.7 billion surplus...more money in (receipts) than money spent abroad (payments). This surplus was 24% less than 1997 and is expected to continue into 1999 with another 17% decline to $15.6 billion. The industry will still be well regarded for helping to offset the merchandise deficit, but not with as much substance if these trends keep up.

The status of the surplus particularly shows the story of changes experienced in the receipts side of the equation. Overall, the change in receipts or exports reflected the change in arrivals, both declined by three percent from 1997. This was only the third decline in travel receipts since 1965.

Receipts from Japan and Australia, however, contracted substantially more than their decline in arrivals. Receipts from Japan dropped by nearly seventeen percent compared to a nine percent decline in arrivals. The decline is attributed to an eighteen percent decline in the average daily visitor spending by Japanese visitors in the U.S. in 1998 as well as reduced air fares, which dropped by fifteen percent per visitor per trip.

Australian receipts dropped seventeen percent while arrivals only dropped eight percent. Unlike Japan, however, the drop in receipts from Australian visitors is attributed more to a nine percent decline in the average length of stay, and, to a lesser degree, a decrease in reduced air fare expenditures (down 6%).

Receipts from Canadian visitors also declined but at a slower rate than arrivals (receipts were down 7% and arrivals were down 11%). Western Europe was the complete opposite. Arrivals only grew by 3% but receipts grew by more than five percent to set a record $30.2 Billion spent in the U.S. by Western European visitors.

Chart #11 Balance of Trade

Balance of Trade

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