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For Immediate Release: October 15, 2008
Contact: Michael Brown/Seamus Kraft  (202) 482-3809

U.S. Tourism Industry Sees Record Spending Growth
Visitor Spending Up 21 Percent

WASHINGTONThe U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that 5.4 million international visitors traveled to the United States in the month of July 2008, an increase of 2 percent over July 2007, and spent a record $12.7 billion, marking a 21 percent increase over July 2007.  Combining the first seven months of 2008, visitation was up an impressive 10 percent compared to 2007. 

“International travelers continue to visit the United States in record high numbers, pumping billions of dollars into our economy,” said Commerce Manufacturing and Services Assistant Secretary William G. Sutton.  “These strong numbers underscore the vital role tourism plays in strengthening the U.S. economy.”

Spending by international travelers while in the United States, including travel receipts and passenger fares, is defined as a U.S. export.

Highlights: International Arrivals to United States for July and Year-to-Date (YTD) 2008

  • Overseas arrivals (excluding Canada and Mexico) increased 10 percent for the month compared to July 2007 and 10 percent YTD. 
  • Visitation from Canada was up 2 percent for the month and 14 percent YTD.
  • Visitation from Western Europe increased 19 percent in July and 17 percent YTD.   
  • Arrivals from the United Kingdom were up 8 percent in July and 8 percent YTD.  
  • Visitation from other Western European markets all increased by double-digits for the month of July 2008 as well as the first seven months of the year.  In July, large growth rates were recorded from: Denmark, up 25 percent; France, up 31 percent; Germany, up 13 percent; Ireland, up 15 percent; Italy, up 29 percent; the Netherlands up 26 percent; Spain, up 42 percent; and Switzerland, up 28 percent.  Eastern Europe generated a 12 percent increase in arrivals for July 2008.
  • Arrivals from South America were up 8 percent in July and 14 percent YTD.
  • Visitation from Asia was down 4 percent in July despite an increase in Chinese visitation, up 17 percent for July 2008.  Overall visitation from Asia is up 30 percent YTD.

Manufacturing and Services’ Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) collects, analyzes, and disseminates international travel and tourism statistics for the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System.  To view OTTI visitation data tables, please visit:

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