For Immediate Release: July 10, 2013
Contact: Mara Lee (202) 482-3809
YEAR-TO-DATE U.S. TRAVEL AND TOURISM EXPORTS CONTRIBUTE $72.6 BILLION TO THE U.S. ECONOMY
WASHINGTON – Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez today highlighted new data that show spending by international visitors to the United States in May 2013 totaled $14.7 billion, an increase of seven percent when compared to May 2012. International visitors have spent an estimated $72.6 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related services year to date in 2013 (January through May), an increase of eight percent when compared to the same period last year.
“Travel and tourism is a key sector of the U.S. economy and an important contributor to U.S. exports,” said Under Secretary Sánchez. “This sector supports 7.8 million U.S. jobs and generates 2.8 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. As this month’s data shows, we are making progress toward our goal to welcome 100 million international visitors annually to the United States through President Obama’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy.”
Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $11.3 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. carriers (and U.S. vessel operators) from international visitors totaled $3.4 billion for the month. The United States enjoyed a favorable balance of trade for the month of May in the travel and tourism sector, with a surplus of more than $4 billion.
The data released today builds upon recent news from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis on travel and tourism spending for the first quarter of 2013. Spending grew during the first quarter, increasing at an annual rate of 6.8 percent after increasing 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. The real gross domestic product grew 2.4 percent in the first quarter after a 0.4 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Travel and tourism is the United States’ largest service export with room to grow. The International Trade Administration recently forecast that the United States can expect an average of four percent annual growth in tourism during the next six years, and this year, 69.6 million foreign travelers are projected to visit the United States.
The increase in international tourism to the United States is helping to achieve the goals of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, launched last year by the Commerce Department and the Department of the Interior. The Strategy establishes an overarching goal of increasing American jobs by attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors, who we estimate will spend $250 billion, annually by the end of 2021.
Increasing U.S. travel and tourism will not come at the expense of national security. The President’s plan for commonsense immigration reform includes a number of proposals to support his commitment to increasing U.S. travel and tourism while maintaining our nation’s security. Specifically, the President supports reforming the Visa Waiver Program to strengthen law enforcement cooperation while facilitating more efficient trade and tourism to the United States, securely streamlining visa and foreign visitor processing, and strengthening and improving infrastructure at ports of entry. These priorities are reflected in the bipartisan immigration reform legislation, which was recently passed by the U.S. Senate.Today, the White House released a report, The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System, outlining the key benefits to the U.S. economy of passing commonsense immigration reform, including boosting the tourism industry. To read the report, please visit the White House website here.
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