March 26, 2012 | Issue #119

Department Of Commerce: Domestic and International Tourism Rose By 8.1% In 2011

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The U.S. Department of Commerce released tourism data last week revealing that international and domestic tourism spending increased 8.1 percent in 2011.

A surge in international visitors to the United States accounted for much of the overall increase. In 2011, 62 million international visitors came to the United States, an increase of 2.5 million from the year before. These international visitors spent a record of $153 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services. The large volume of international visitors makes travel and tourism number-one service export in the United States.

"Every year, tens of millions of tourists from all over the world visit America, and the more visitors we have, the more Americans we get back to work," said Commerce Secretary John Bryson. "The international travel data announced today further underscores the fact that America is open for business."

In December 2011 alone, international visitors spent $12.6 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States, which is a 9 percent increase over December 2010. Travel and tourism-related exports increased, on average, more than $1.5 billion a month in 2011.