WASHINGTON – Tourism in the United States will boom over the next five years, with number of tourists from emerging markets including China expected to rise dramatically, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Monday.
“The U.S. can expect 6-8 percent average annual growth in tourism over the next five years, and this year, 64 million foreign travelers are projected to visit the United States, spending 144 billion dollars during their stays, setting a new record for travel exports,” noted the 2011 International Travel and Tourism Forecast, a report conducted by the department.
The report also shows that the services trade surplus, which includes travel and tourism, is up 28 percent so far this year, putting it on track to exceed the record of 32 billion dollars set in 2010.
Tourism is one of the most significant sources of exports in the United States, and money spent by international tourists in the U.S. supports millions of service sector jobs.
“Growth in travel and tourism — with many international visitors spending a lot of money in America — will help us achieve the President’s goal of doubling exports, which will support millions of American jobs,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “Last year, our nation hosted a record-breaking number of international visitors, and the future looks even brighter.”
In early 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama launched the National Export Initiative, plan to double the country’s export in five years by 2014.
In 2010, 60 million international visitors traveled to the U.S., generating more than 134 billion dollars in receipts and a 32 billion dollars trade surplus, according to the report.
Nearly 8 million people in the United States are employed in travel and tourism industries, and 1.2 million are tied directly to international travelers.
Over the next five years, tourists from all world regions to the U.S. are forecast to grow, in which China, the second largest world economy will be the fastest growing visitor origin country.
The report noted that number of tourists from China will grow 232 percent over the period. South Korea will grow 200 percent and Brazil 150 percent. Russia and India tourists are also expected to be among the top visitor origin countries to America.