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

November 03, 2009

International Visitor Spending in the United States Down 21 Percent in August
Travel and tourism-related exports decline for tenth consecutive month

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that international visitors spent an estimated $9.9 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the month of August—an increase of 1 percent over July 2009. However, when compared to the same period last year, international visitor spending is down more than 21 percent for the month.

  • Travel Receipts: Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $7.8 billion for the month, a decrease of more than 20 percent in comparison with last year. 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 25 percent to $2.1 billion for the month, a decrease of more than $700 million when compared to August 2008.

August 2009 marks the tenth 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 percent), December 2008 (-2 percent), January 2009 (-6 percent), February 2009 (-10 percent), March 2009 (-18 percent), April 2009 (-14 percent), May 2009 (-23 percent), June 2009 (-22 percent), July (-22 percent), and now August 2009 (-21 percent).

Monthly Travel and Tourism Highlights

  • Year-to-date (January–August) travel and tourism-related exports totaled $79.4 billion, down more than 17 percent ($16.4 billion) when compared to 2008.
  • International visitors are not the only ones who have curtailed their spending; in fact, year-to-date travel and tourism-related imports—spending by Americans abroad— totaled $65.9 billion, down more than 12 percent ($9.3 billion) when compared to last year.
  • The U.S. travel and tourism industry has generated a $13.5 billion trade surplus (i.e., exports minus imports) year to date, nearly $7.1 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 U.S. Travel and Tourism Exports (Receipts)

Total U.S. Travel and Tourism Exports = Travel Receipts + Passenger Fares Receipts
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, October 2009.

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: