"Bright Spot in Our Economy: Tourism Driving Recovery" – by Lakshman Ratnapala

“Bright Spot in Our Economy: Tourism Driving Recovery”
by Lakshman Ratnapala, BATW International Consultant
The United States is on pace for a record-setting year for inbound tourism spending, according to the latest U.S. Department of Commerce figures. The department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) reported that international visitors spent an estimated $82.2 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services in the first 6 months of 2012, an increase of 11% when compared to the same period last year. If these trends continue, international visitors will end up injecting more than $169 billion into the U.S. economy by year’s end.
The travel data indicate that the second quarter of 2012 set a new record for travel and tourism exports”, said Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. “Tourism is a bright spot in our economy and is our number one services export. It supports millions of American jobs, and we remain committed to help make the United States the top destination for international visitors. An important part of that is implementing the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which aims to attract more than 100 million international visitors annually by 2021, generating more than $250 billion annually in revenue.”
International visitors spent an estimated $13.8 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States in June 2012. That is $860 million, 7% more than was spent in June 2011. Travel and tourism-related exports have increased, on average, more than $1.3 billion a month during the first six months of 2012.
“America’s economic recovery is being driven largely by the travel industry,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Each international visitor we welcome to the U.S. helps to support local communities and small businesses across our country. This is a tremendous opportunity. More can be done, and our industry stands ready to continue to encourage growth in international travel to the U.S.”
 

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