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.
“The latest data confirm the positive impact that travel and tourism is having on our economy,” said Under Secretary Sánchez. “An increase in international visitor spending is helping us reach the goals of the President’s National Export Initiative, by increasing both exports and export-supported jobs. In addition, we are making progress toward our goal to welcome 100 million international visitors annually to the United States. This administration is committed to making America the number one tourist destination, which will further support millions of American workers who are employed by the travel and tourism sector.”
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.
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.
Increasing U.S. travel and tourism will not come at the expense of national security. The President’s plan for common sense immigration reform includes a number of proposals to support his commitment to increasing U.S. travel and tourism while maintaining our nation’s security. Specifically, the President’s immigration proposal reforms the Visa Waiver Program to strengthen law enforcement cooperation while facilitating more efficient trade and tourism to the United States, securely streamlines visa and foreign visitor processing, and strengthens and improves infrastructure at ports of entry. These priorities are reflected in recently introduced bipartisan immigration reform legislation, which the entire U.S. Senate is currently debating.