TI News
 Subscribe TI News Archive

TI News: An information service from the National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO)

January 22, 2015


WASHINGTON - Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig announced today that international visitors to the United States spent $18.4 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States in November, a slight increase when compared to November 2013.

“International visitors have injected approximately $615 million a day into the economy in November, once again making travel and tourism a star of the U.S. economy,” Selig said. “The industry continues to grow, drawing us closer to President Obama’s goal of welcoming 100 million international visitors and the estimated $250 billion they will spend per year by the end of 2021.”

International visitors have spent $203.6 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services year to date (January through November), an increase of 4 percent when compared to the same period last year; conversely, Americans have spent an estimated $133.9 billion aboard, resulting in a balance of trade surplus nearly $69.7 billion year to date.

  • Travel Receipts: Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $11.5 billion during November, relatively unchanged (0.2%) when compared to 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. Travel receipts accounted for 62 percent of total U.S. travel and tourism exports for November.

  • Passenger Fare Receipts: Fares received by U.S. carriers from international visitors totaled $3.5 billion for the month, a decrease of 1 percent when compared to November 2013. Passenger fare receipts accounted for 19 percent of total U.S. travel and tourism exports in November.

  • Medical/Education/Short-Term Worker(1): Expenditures for educational and health-related tourism, along with all expenditures by border, seasonal, and other short-term workers, totaled more than $3.4 billion in November, an increase of nearly 7 percent when compared to the same period last year. Medical tourism, education, and short-term worker receipts accounted for almost 19 percent of total U.S. travel and tourism exports during November.

Change in Passenger Fare Exports / Imports
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Travel and Tourism Office and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

China remains an important market for U.S. travel and tourism. To attract more Chinese travelers to the United States, on November 10, 2014, President Obama announced a reciprocal visa validity arrangement between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China. Both countries agreed to increase the validity of short-term tourist and business visas to ten years - the longest validity possible under U.S. law. As a result of this arrangement, the United States hopes to welcome a growing share of eligible Chinese travelers, inject billions in the U.S. economy and create enough demand to support hundreds of thousands of additional U.S. jobs. The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Office for Travel and Tourism, housed in the International Trade Administration, was integral in helping push for this change, which will improve trade, investment, and business ties by facilitating travel and offering easier access to both economies.

(1) In June 2014 the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) completed the most comprehensive restructuring of the U.S. international economic accounts since 1976 in an effort to bring our international accounts into closer conformity with international guidelines. As a result, BEA now uses a broader definition of travel that includes education-related and health-related travel and expenditures on goods and services by border, seasonal, and other short-term workers. Therefore, all travel and tourism-related trade data have been revised back to 1999. To learn more, please visit: https://travel.trade.gov/pdf/restructuring-travel.pdf

NTTO is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating international travel and tourism statistics for the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System. For more monthly travel and tourism-related trade data dating back to 1999, please visit the NTTO site at: < https://travel.trade.gov/outreachpages/download_data_table/Monthly_Exports_Imports_Balance.xlsx>.