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April 17, 2013 / BSP Marketing

US Hospitality Industry Benefits from more International Visitor Spending in 2013

February 2013 US Travel and Tourism Exports Break Previous Year’s Record Numbers

According to data released by the International Trade Administration (ITA), US travel and tourism exports set another new record in February 2013, surpassing the February 2012 record-breaking figures by five percent. International visitor spending was up more than $700 million to $14.3 billion in February 2013.

US Hospitality Industry 2013
Money spent on transportation, hotels, and other travel and tourist activities, is considered an US export when it comes from visitors arriving from outside of the United States. Cities and states spend millions of dollars developing sophisticated marketing plans in order to attract international travelers to visit and inject substantial sums of money into the local economy.

Hotels and casinos realize the importance of the international visitor and try to adopt their businesses so that they will be more appealing to foreign visitors. Along the Las Vegas Strip, almost all of the major casino/hotels make sure they have staff that speaks Chinese, French, German and most of the world’s most common languages.

South America, Central America and Mexico are all starting points for millions of people who visit Southern California each year. The hotel and hospitality industry makes a special effort to make sure that Hispanic visitors feel comfortable in the United States. Bilingual staff in area hotels, at the San Diego Zoo and in Disneyland, all play an important part in welcoming guests and encouraging them to visit again.

The strong trend of increased international tourism and travel spending in the United States is continuing from 2012. For the first two months in 2013, spending associated with international visitors to the United States, was a solid $28.6 billion.

Spending can be broken down into several categories. First, there is the cost associated with getting to the United States. This primarily involves spending to purchase airline tickets, but also includes passengers arriving on cruise ships.

The second category is all of the money tourists and international travels spend once they arrive in this country. It includes money spent on taxis, rental cars and other modes of transportation. Hotel and lodging cost represent a good portion of the money spent by foreign arrivals. Everything else from food, recreation, shopping and entertainment also adds to the total amount of international spending.

In February of 2013, the amount spent on goods and services by international travelers totaled $10.9 billion. US carriers and vessel operators took in another $3.4 billion in fares from international travelers.

The total for the month of $14.3 billion in US travel and tourism exports left the travel and tourism sector of the US economy with a big surplus of $4.5 billion. Stated another way, exports exceeded imports by almost fifty percent. Businesses in the United States took in $14.3 billion dollars (exports) and spent (imports) $9.8 billion on travel and tourism outside of the United States. A positive balance of trade is good for our economy.

International travel and tourism exports represent more than twenty percent of all our service related exports. It helps support the 7.7 million hotel, transportation, restaurant and other related jobs that are tied to travel and tourism.

Immigration has been a hot topic in the US Congress of late. Much of the discussion has been centered on how we can secure our borders and keep people from entering our country illegally or coming on valid visas and not leaving after they expire. All of this discussion could be of concern for the international travel and tourism industry. If policies become more restrictive, it could discourage legitimate travelers from coming to America.

The Administration has taken steps to make sure that travel and tourism from abroad will continue to remain strong. While national security issues are not being ignored, the ability of people to obtain visas for vacation, business, work or educational purposes has been updated.

The Visa Waiver Program strengthens the ability of law enforcement to be able to do their job, but also makes provisions that will help facilitate legal travel to the United States. More customs agents have been added to streamline the check-in process at US airports and seaports. Forms and paperwork can be prepared online and visitors are treated with the courtesy and respect they deserve.

The United States wants to encourage international visitation and also recognizes the need to address the immigration problem. While political issues will always be of concern when people come to the United States from foreign countries, international tourism is poised to increase in the coming years.

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