International visitor spending in US down 21 percent in August


The US Department of Commerce recently announced that international visitors spent an estimated US$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 US$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 US carriers (and US vessel operators) from international visitors decreased nearly 25 percent to US$2.1 billion for the month, a decrease of more than US$700 million when compared to August 2008.

August 2009 marks the tenth straight month in which US 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 US$79.4 billion, down more than 17 percent (US$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 US$65.9 billion, down more than 12 percent (US$9.3 billion) when compared to last year.

• The US travel and tourism industry has generated a US$13.5 billion trade surplus (i.e., exports minus imports) year to date, nearly US$7.1 billion less favorable than the same period last year.

• The recent downturn in US travel and tourism exports, beginning in the closing months of 2008, interrupted more than sixty consecutive months of positive growth.

Total US Travel and Tourism Exports = Travel Receipts + Passenger Fares Receipts

Source: US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, October 2009

The US Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating international travel and tourism statistics for the US Travel and Tourism Statistical System. For more information relating to OTTI programs, please visit: . For more monthly travel and tourism-related trade data dating back to 1992, please visit: .