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International Visitors Inject $21.0 Billion into U.S. Economy in May 2016

July 11, 2016 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

Acting U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Ken Hyatt today announced that international visitors spent $21.0 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States in May, a slight decrease (-0.1%) when compared to May 2015. This slight downturn is mostly attributable to a decline in passenger fares paid to U.S. carriers by international visitors, which decreased nearly 9 percent in May.

“International visitors spent nearly $665 million a day experiencing the United States in May,” Hyatt said, “positioning travel and tourism as America’s leading services export. In fact, travel and tourism exports accounted for nearly a third of all U.S. services exports last year and 11 percent of all U.S. exports – supporting more than 1.1 million U.S. jobs.”

International visitors have spent $104.6 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services year to date (January through May), an increase of more than 3 percent when compared to the same period last year; conversely, Americans have spent an estimated $65.7 billion abroad, yielding a balance of trade surplus of $38.9 billion year to date.

Monthly Summary

  • Travel Receipts: Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $13.0 billion during May, a decrease of nearly 2 percent when compared to 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. Travel receipts accounted for 63 percent of total U.S. travel and tourism exports in May.
  • Passenger Fare Receipts: Fares received by U.S. carriers from international visitors totaled $3.2 billion for the month, a decrease of 9 percent when compared to May 2015.Passenger fare receipts accounted for15 percent of total U.S. travel and tourism exports in May.
  • Medical/Education/Short-Term Worker(1):Expenditures for educational and health-related tourism, along with all expenditures by border, seasonal, and other short-term workers, totaled more than $4.4 billion in May, an increase of more than 13 percent when compared to the same period last year. Medical tourism, education, and short-term worker receipts accounted for 21 percent of total U.S. travel and tourism exports in May.


Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Travel and Tourism Office and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

(1) In June 2014 the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) completed the most comprehensive restructuring of the U.S. international economic accounts since 1976 in an effort to bring our international accounts into closer conformity with international guidelines. As a result, BEA now uses a broader definition of travel that includes education-related and health-related travel and expenditures on goods and services by border, seasonal, and other short-term workers. Therefore, all travel and tourism-related trade data have been revised back to 1999.

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