Spending by international travelers to the U.S. was up for January.
International visitors spent an estimated $14.4 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the U.S., an 11 percent increase from January 2012 levels, according to the International Trade Administration.
Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the U.S. totaled $10.9 billion in January, an increase of about 10 percent compared with January 2012. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment and local transportation.
Fares received by U.S. carriers and vessel operators from international visitors also increased by about 11 percent to $3.5 billion for the month, an increase of $355 million compared with January 2012. Overall, the U.S. enjoyed a favorable balance of trade for the month in the travel and tourism sector, with a surplus of $4.6 billion, according to the trade administration.
“Record-setting growth in the travel and tourism industry continues to contribute to the strength of our nation’s economy,” Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez said in a statement. “International travel and tourism represents our country’s largest services export, and in 2012, record spending in the United States by international travelers contributed to $2.2 trillion in overall U.S. exports — the highest level in our country’s history.”
Employment, too, is up in the tourism industry.
A report released by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that tourism and tourism-related industries supported 7.7 million jobs last year, an increase of 2.1 percent compared with 2011. About 5.5 million of these positions were direct tourism jobs, while 2.2 million were indirect, meaning that workers produce goods and services used to produce what visitors purchase.
Contact reporter Laura Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.