Figures for 2013 for the U.S. travel and tourism industry were recently released by Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig. If this were the only information you had about the economy, you might be tempted to believe it was booming. For example:
- U.S. travel and tourism-related employment increased by 146,000 jobs in 2012 to 7.6 million jobs in 2013.
- U.S. travel and tourism industry-related spending, at almost $1.5 trillion, increased by 4.1 percent in 2013.
- The United States leads the world in travel and tourism exports, which have more than doubled since 2003. In fact, travel and tourism exports account for nearly one-third (31 percent) of all U.S. services exports, and more than nine percent of total U.S. exports – goods and services.
- The United States welcomed a record-setting 70 million international visitors to the United States in 2013 – a five percent increase from 2012 – and spent a record $214.8 billion.
- International visitors injected nearly $590 million each day during their travels to the country last year.
These numbers bring us closer to the goals set by the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which was launched by President Obama in 2012. By 2021, the Strategy strives to draw 100 million international visitors, generating $250 billion in visitor spending annually.