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

July 21, 2009

International Visitor Spending in the United States Down Markedly in May
U.S. travel and tourism-related exports decline for seventh consecutive month

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that international visitors spent an estimated $9.5 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the month of May—22% less than visitors had spent during May 2008.

  • Travel Receipts: Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $7.5 billion for the month, a decrease of nearly 23% when compared to May 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 more than 22% to $2.1 billion for the month. Passenger fare receipts for May were at their lowest point in nearly two years.

May 2009 marks the seventh straight 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 (-4%), December 2008 (-2%), January 2009 (- 5%), February 2009 (-9%), March 2009 (-19%), April 2009 (-15%), and May (-22%).

Monthly Travel and Tourism Highlights

  • When compared to April, total U.S. exports were up 1.6% in May; conversely, total U.S. services exports decreased 0.4%, while travel and tourism exports disproportionately decreased by 3% (month over month).
  • Year-to-date (January-May) travel and tourism-related exports totaled $50.1 billion, down more than 14% ($8.2 billion) over 2008.
  • The U.S. travel and tourism industry has generated an $8.3 billion trade surplus (i.e., exports minus imports) year to date, more than $3.2 billion less favorable than the same period last year.
  • The recent downturn in U.S. travel and tourism exports, beginning in the closing months of 2008, interrupted more than sixty consecutive months of positive growth.

Monthly Travel and Tourism Exports (Receipts)

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>.

For more monthly travel and tourism-related trade data dating back to 1992, please visit: