Last updated: 01:50 AM ET, Mon October 29 2012

Commerce Dept. Reports Visitors to U.S. Spent $13.3 Billion in February

Features & Advice | Kate Rice | April 17, 2012

Commerce Dept. Reports Visitors to U.S. Spent $13.3 Billion in February


The U.S. Department of Commerce, in its monthly report on travel and tourism, said international visitors spent an estimated $13.3 billion on travel to and tourism-related activities within the United States during the month of February -- nearly $1.6 billion more and up 14 percent when compared with February 2011. Year to date, U.S. travel and tourism exports have grown more than 11 percent in 2012.

Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States hit a record $10.1 billion during February, an increase of 13 percent when compared to the same month 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.

Fares received by U.S. carriers and U.S. vessel operators from international visitors increased more than 16 percent to $3.1 billion for the month, an increase of nearly $435 million when compared to February last year and just $175 million shy of breaking the record set in August 2011.

While spending by international visitors has hit records, so have arrivals. In January 2012, 4.5 million international visitors traveled to the United States, a 7 percent increase over January 2011. January 2012 registered the 10th straight month of increases in total U.S. visits.

In January 2012, the top inbound markets continued to be Canada and Mexico. Visits from Canada increased 9 percent while arrivals from Mexico grew 4 percent. Seven of the top inbound overseas regional markets posted increases in visits in January 2012, while Western Europe was flat and the Caribbean region decreased 4 percent.

The Commerce Department said that 2012 data to date builds on increases in international and domestic tourism spending in 2011, which showed an increase of 8.1 percent, supporting an additional 103,000 jobs for a total of 7.6 million. The department said a big factor in the increase was a surge in international visitors: in 2011, 62 million international visitors came to the United States, an increase of 2.5 million from the year before. These international visitors spent an all time record of $153 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services.

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