Last updated: 04:30 PM ET, Wed March 30 2016

International Visitor Numbers Outline Travel's Massive Economic Impact

Features & Advice | Donald Wood | March 30, 2016

International Visitor Numbers Outline Travel's Massive Economic Impact

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The United States Department of Commerce's National Travel & Tourism Office has announced the results of gathered data from January 2016, with visitors spending over $18 billion during the month.

According to the official website of the Department of Commerce, international visitors spent an estimated $18.3 billion on travel and tourism in January 2016, which consisted of travel receipts, passenger fare receipts and travel revolving around medical, education or short-term work.

Under Secretary for International Trade, Stefan M. Selig, released a statement:

“Today's data show that the United States remains a desirable destination for international travelers. The travel and tourism industry remains important to the nation's economy and to American workers, annually generating nearly $1.6 trillion of economic output that supports nearly 8.1 million U.S. jobs. The Commerce Department continues to introduce new initiatives like the recently launched 2016 U.S.-China Tourism Year to support President Obama's National Travel and Tourism Strategy goal of welcoming 100 million international visitors by 2021.”

While the news about the travel industry’s success in January 2016 is great news, the Department of Commerce also released overall statistics for 2015 which indicate a nearly $4 billion drop in spending from international tourists.

In 2015, international travelers spent $216.8 billion in the United States, which is a 1.8 percent decline from the previous year’s total of $220.7 billion. The numbers also indicated that tourists spent 11.1 percent less on airfare ($5 billion) in 2015.

The amount of money being spent may be down, but the report suggests the number of travelers is up overall. Not only were there more people traveling within the United States in 2015, but there were also 7 percent more people who traveled overseas than the previous year, totaling 32.8 million.

For full results from the findings, check out the National Travel & Tourism Office’s official website.

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