At a meeting of the
Commerce Department’s Travel and Tourism Advisory Board today, Commerce
Secretary Gary Locke announced a 47 percent surge in the travel and
tourism trade surplus in 2010; the surplus now exceeds $28 billion. The
United States welcomed more than 55 million international visitors
during the first 11 months of 2010, 11.4 million more visitors than the
year before. While international visitation increased 10 percent,
international visitor spending increased 11 percent to $122.7 billion.
The travel and tourism industry employs nearly 8 million people across
the United States.
During the meeting,
Locke discussed the progress made on the president’s National Export
Initiative, which aims to double exports by 2015 in support of several
million U.S. jobs. Through November 2010, total U.S. exports were up 17
percent, and travel and tourism is on track to contribute to
significant export growth.
“Travel and tourism
continues to be one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy,” said
Locke. “With a $28.3 billion trade surplus in the first 11 months of
2010, this industry has a huge role to play in helping our country
answer President Obama’s call to double our exports by 2015 and win the
The Board consists
of 30 industry leaders from the travel and tourism industry who are
appointed to advise Secretary Locke on matters relating to the industry
and provide policy recommendations. The Board was re-chartered in
September 2009, and the current term will expire on September 3, 2011.
Members of the
Travel Facilitation Working Group presented a letter to Secretary Locke
with 10 recommendations that address key visa and customer service
issues, with the goal to increase the number of overseas international
visitors to the U.S. to meet the current forecast of 36.7 million
visitors by 2015, supporting job creation. | Remarks