International Travel Receipts Analysis for 2004
The preliminary 2004 travel receipts data indicate that international visitors spent almost $94 billion on travel-related expenses to and within the United States. Total spending by international visitors in 2004 increased 17 percent when compared to annual 2003 spending figures. This increase is the largest growth in spending posted by the United States since 1990. It is the first increase in travel exports since 2000, when international visitors spent a record $103 billion. The $94 billion export figure is the sum of the travel spending by international visitors to and within the country. Travel (the spending within the country) totaled almost $75 billion in 2004. Another $19 billion was spent on U.S. air carriers traveling to and from the United States. These receipts supported 965,000 million American jobs and $12 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.
With the growth in travel spending, the USA also experienced an increase in the travel surplus to $5.8 billion, a 121 percent increase. The growth in the surplus was a result of the strong growth (17%) in international visitor spending, and a slower growth (13%) of U.S. outbound travel spending in 2004. The travel trade surplus (the total spending by visitors to the country minus what U.S. travelers spend abroad) again registered a trade surplus for the 16 th straight year. The first trade surplus was generated in 1989. Since that time, the surplus has been as large as $29.3 billion in 1991, and as low as $2.6 billion in 2003.
At this time, only limited data is available on traveler spending. Overseas (all countries except Canada and Mexico) visitors spent $75.4 billion, up 17 percent over 2003. Spending by Europeans totaled $32.2 billion, also up 17 percent. Visitors from the combined Central and South America, or Caribbean countries spent a total of $16 billion up 12 percent when compared to annual 2003 exports.
The United Kingdom remained the top market in generating travel receipts for the United States. In 2004, preliminary figures for spending by British visitors on travel and passenger fares totaled a record $12.8 billion, up 14 percent from 2003. The U.K. market surpassed Japan as the top export market for the United States in 2003. The previous U.K. receipts record was set in 2000 ($12.7 billion). The U.S. had a $2.9 billion trade surplus in travel with the U.K. Comparing 1994 spending by British travelers between 1994 and 2004 shows that travel exports for this market have increased by 67 percent over the decade.
Japan remained the second largest travel export market for the U.S. Visitors from Japan spent $12.4 billion in 2004, up 24 percent compared to 2003. The record year for spending by Japanese travelers to the USA was 1995, ($17.8 billion). The U.S. had a $12.4 billion trade surplus in travel with Japan in 2004, largest travel trade surplus of any country for the U.S.
In 2004, Canadian visitors spent over $10.3 billion, up 15 percent over 2003. This set a new record for spending by Canadians in the United States. The previous record was set in 1991 when our northern neighbors spent $9.5 billion. The U.S. had a $2.7 billion trade surplus in travel with Canada in 2004. Comparing spending by Canadian travelers over the past decade reveals that travel exports for this market increased by 39 percent.
Mexico once again remained the fourth largest generator of travel receipts for the U.S. in 2004. In 2004, our neighbors to the south spent $7.9 billion on travel and passenger fares. This represented a new record for spending by Mexican visitors, surpassing the record set last year at $7 billion. In fact, Mexico has set records for spending in the USA every year since 1995. The U.S. had a $1.3 billion trade deficit in travel with Mexico, as U.S. travelers spent more in that country than Mexicans spent in the U.S. Comparing 1994 spending by Mexican travelers to 2004 shows that travel exports for this market increased by 42 percent.
Australia was the only other individual country in which the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released an estimate for total travel exports. Australia also set a record for spending in the USA in 2004, and it posted the highest growth rate of the country estimates released (37%). The U.S. travel trade surplus with Australia also skyrocketed to $628 million, a 387% increase from the $129 million travel trade surplus in 2003. Comparing the last 10 years (1994-2004), the travel exports for this market increased by 33 percent.
BEA will issue revised travel spending data in June/July 2005. At that time, eight additional market estimates for travel exports will be provided. In late October, travel and passenger fare spending estimates will be issued for more than 30 countries.
Background Information on International Visitor Spending :
Spending by international visitors to the United States is considered an export because the money spent by these travelers supports U.S. companies when they purchase lodging, gifts/souvenirs, food/beverages, transportation, entertainment, and other items in the United States. These international traveler expenditures also sustain U.S. jobs. Passenger fares spent by international visitors only on U.S. carriers are also considered an export.
The international visitor spending figures reported here are the sums of travel and passenger fare exports as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the lead U.S. Department of Commerce statistical agency.
The Office of Travel & Tourism Industries provides BEA with the core arrival expenditures and characteristic data, which are then used to calculate receipts (exports) figures from international travelers and payments (imports) made by U.S. travelers. Ultimately, the spending by international visitors to the country is used, in part, to calculate the estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the nation. These spending figures are also used by BEA in the Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts estimates each quarter.
For more information on travel spending, please contact OTTI. Or, visit the website to see the spending tables at: http://travel.trade.gov/outreachpages/inbound.general_information.inbound_overview.html