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TI News: An information service from Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI)

June 01, 2009

International Visitor Spending in the United States Down Sharply in March

U.S. travel and tourism-related exports decline for fifth straight month

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that international visitors spent $9.9 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the month of March—16% less than visitors spent in March 2008.


  • Travel Receipts: Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $7.7 billion for the month, a decrease of more than 15% when compared to March 2008. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the United States, and other items incidental to foreign travel.
  • Passenger Fare Receipts: Fares received by U.S. carriers (and U.S. vessel operators) from international visitors decreased nearly 20% over March 2008 receipts to $2.1 billion for the month. Passenger fare receipts for March were nearly 7% lower than February receipts.


March 2009 marks the fifth consecutive month in which U.S. travel and tourism-related exports were lower when compared to the same period of the previous year, having declined in November 2008 (-3%),  December 2008 (-1%), January 2009 (- 8%), February 2009 (-12%), and March 2009 (-16%).


Monthly Travel and Tourism Highlights


  • The recent downturn in U.S. travel and tourism exports, beginning in the closing months of 2008, interrupted more than sixty-two consecutive months of positive growth.
  • Year-to-date (January-March) travel and tourism-related exports totaled $30.6 billion, down more than 12% over 2008.
  • The U.S. travel and tourism industry generated a $4.7 billion trade surplus (i.e., exports minus imports) year to date, nearly $1.8 billion less favorable than the same period last year.  


 Preliminary data subject to future revisions
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating international travel and tourism statistics for the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System. For more information relating to OTTI programs, please visit: < http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/research/index.html>.