International visitors have spent an estimated $87.1 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services year-to-date in 2013 (January through June), an increase of 7 percent when compared to the same period last year.
“The economic contributions of international travel and tourism continue to be a bright spot, with the sector leading services exports both on a monthly basis and year-to-date,” said Under Secretary Sánchez. “The increase in U.S. travel and tourism-related exports, which is supporting the president’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy, is crucial to supporting and creating jobs and boosting our nation’s economy.”
Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $67.0 billion during the first half of 2013. 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 $20.1 billion during the first half of 2013. The United States enjoyed a favorable balance of trade for the month of June in the travel and tourism sector, with a surplus of more than $4.3 billion.
The increase in international tourism to the United States is helping to achieve the goals of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, launched last year by the Commerce Department and the Department of the Interior. The Strategy establishes an overarching goal of increasing American jobs by attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021, who are estimated to spend $250 billion while traveling in and getting to the United States.
Increasing U.S. travel and tourism will not come at the expense of national security. The President’s plan for commonsense 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 supports reforming the Visa Waiver Program to strengthen law enforcement cooperation while facilitating more efficient trade and tourism to the United States, securely streamlining visa and foreign visitor processing, and strengthening and improving infrastructure at ports of entry. These priorities are reflected in the bipartisan immigration reform legislation, which was passed by the U.S. Senate.
The White House recently released a report, The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System, outlining the key benefits to the U.S. economy of passing commonsense immigration reform, including boosting the tourism industry.