U.S. Commerce Dept. Reports Major Jump in Visitor Spending for July
By James Shillinglaw
September 19, 2012 11:07 PM
The U.S. Department of Commerce, in its monthly report, said international visitors spent an estimated $13.7 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during July, up $350 million (or 3 percent) compared with what they spent in July 2011. Travel and tourism-related exports have increased, on average, more than $1.1 billion a month during the first seven months of 2012.
“The travel data released today shows that tourism remains one of the bright spots in our economy, and the travel and tourism industry is on pace to reach record export levels this year,” said Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. “The Obama administration’s number one priority remains strengthening our economy and creating jobs -- and making the U.S. the top destination for international visitors will help us reach that goal.”
International visitors spent an estimated $10.5 billion on travel and tourism-related goods and services while traveling within the United States in July 2012, an increase of 4 percent when compared to 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. Year to date, international visitors have spent an estimated $95.4 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services – an increase of more than nine percent when compared to the same period last year.
In addition, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts estimates for the second quarter of 2012. These accounts present a picture of travel and tourism activity and its role in the U.S. economy, offering estimates of spending by visitors to the U.S. on six categories of goods and serviced as well as estimates of the employment generated by travel and tourism and their related industries. The new data reveal that real spending on travel and tourism increased at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2012 after increasing 4.9 percent (revised) in the first quarter of 2012. In the second quarter of 2012, the travel and tourism industry supported 7.6 million jobs -- with international travel supporting 1.2 million of those jobs.
Also on Sept. 19, the White House released a progress report from the Departments of State and Homeland Security that outlines the activities underway to meet President Obama’s goal of boosting the travel and tourism industry in the United States. This report discusses the steps taken to achieve the President’s visa and foreign visitor processing goals and the current progress of these and other measures to significantly bolster international travel and tourism. These efforts are all part of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Interior presented to the president in May, as a blueprint to increase international travel to the United States