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International Travelers to the United States Post Record Numbers in Visits and Spending

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U.S. Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez highlighted new data today that show spending by international visitors to the United States in April 2013 totaled nearly $14.5 billion, an increase of more than 5 percent when compared to April 2012. International visitors have spent an estimated $57.9 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related services year to date in 2013 (January through April), an increase of 8 percent when compared to the same period last year.

Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $11.2 billion during April. 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 totaled nearly $3.3 billion for the month. The United States enjoyed a favorable balance of trade for the month of April in the travel and tourism sector, with a surplus of nearly $4.2 billion.

In 2012, international travel and tourism spending reached a record $168.1 billion, up 10 percent from 2011. The increase was the result of a surge in international visitors to the United States: in 2012, a record 67.0 million international visitors came to the United States, an increase of 4.3 million from the year before. Highlights of the 2012 arrivals data show that Canadian visitors set a record with 22.7 million visitors, up 6 percent.  Mexico was second with a record 14.5 million arrivals, up 8 percent. The U.K., (-2 percent), Japan (+14 percent), and Germany (+3 percent) rounded out the top five. Countries among the top 20 with the largest increase in 2012 from the previous year were: China (+35 percent), Colombia (+21 percent), Venezuela and Argentina (both up +20 percent), and Brazil (+ 19 percent). All five countries set records for visits to the United States in 2012.

And the Department of Commerce continues to work hard to increase the number of international visitors. This week, the International Trade Administration (ITA) and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) are joining forces to promote travel and tourism exports by signing a Trade Promotion Partner Memorandum of Agreement between ITA and the LVCVA to become a strategic partner of ITA’s U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service.

The partnership brings together the expertise of the ITA and the LVCVA to help Southern Nevada businesses engage in more activities to strengthen Nevada’s tourism sector and to increase the U.S. market share of worldwide travel. Additionally, the partnership will promote international travel to the United States and help advance President Obama’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy. The LVCVA, which operates the nation’s only convention center designated as a World Trade Center and one of the largest convention centers in the United States, will build awareness about the importance of tourism through outreach at trade shows. LVCVA will also host a series of international matchmaking events designed to increase the number international buyers attending trade shows in Las Vegas.

Travel and tourism-related industries as a whole support nearly 7.7 million American jobs. President Obama’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which was announced last year, aims to attract more than 100 million international tourists per year by 2021, visitors that would spend an estimated $250 billion per year, supporting more jobs and spurring economic growth in communities across the country.

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