New data released by the U.S. Commerce Department shows that international visitors spent nearly $13.9 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States in May—$1 billion more than was spent in May 2011.
International visitors spent an estimated $68.4 billion traveling to and spending time in the United States in the first five months of this year, an increase of 12% from the same period last year, according Los Angeles Times. Americans spent nearly $50 billion on travel and tourism abroad in that time — creating an $18.4-billion trade surplus, the federal agency reported.
The nation’s first coordinated $150-million media campaign to promote the U.S. to travelers worldwide was launched in May as part of the Travel Promotion Act of 2010. It has been financed by a $14 fee charged to each international visitor who registers for a visa to enter the U.S., plus donations from private businesses such as hotels and theme parks.
On May 25, the White House released the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which outlines the goal to welcome 100 million international visitors each year by the end of 2021. These visitors would spend an estimated $250 billion per year, supporting even more jobs and spurring economic growth in the country.