U.S. Tourism Industry Enjoyed Record Summer Season
The number of visitors to the United States and the amount of money they spent grew significantly during the 2007 summer season.
by Matt Braud
Summer 2007 was a record-breaking season for international travel to the United States. According to statistics released by the Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, total international visitation and spending for June, July, and August surpassed previous records.
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“These robust summer travel numbers highlight the vitality of the American travel industry,” remarked Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez. “Travel and tourism produces a healthy trade surplus for the industry, strengthens the economy, and expands job growth. I’m optimistic about the industry’s future, as we’re projected to surpass previous records in visitation and spending this year.”
A Significant Export Sector
Sometimes overlooked as an export, travel-related purchases made in the United States by international visitors are an important export that continues to grow. The travel and tourism sector is now the leading services export for the United States, accounting for 26 percent of all U.S. services exports and 7 percent of total U.S. exports, including goods and services.
June, July, and August 2007 marked a record-setting season for travel and tourism receipts, generating nearly $30.7 billion in exports. This amount represents an increase of 14 percent over 2006 for the same three-month period.
Since 1989, the travel and tourism sector has produced a travel balance-of-trade surplus every year. The Department of Commerce predicts that 2007 will be the 19th consecutive year that the industry will enjoy a balance-of-trade surplus. That surplus is a strong indication of U.S. ability to compete in today’s global marketplace.
Number of Visitors Grew
The number of international visitors also grew during this period. Summer 2007 saw 14.3 million international travelers visited the United States—the highest number of summertime visitors on record. Excluding travelers from Canada and Mexico, visits from international travelers for the summer were up 13 percent over the same period in 2006.
Visitations from other North American countries also grew during the summer. The number of Canadian visitors in June, July, and August grew by 9 percent compared with 2006, and arrivals from Mexico were up 16 percent.
Matt Braud is the communications director for the Manufacturing and Services unit of the International Trade Administration.