International Spending Down in 2017

A 3.3. percent spending drop means losses of $4.6 million spent in the U.S. and 40,000 jobs By: Michelle Juergen
A decrease in inbound travel spending is bad news for the overall U.S. economy. // © 2018 Getty Images
A decrease in inbound travel spending is bad news for the overall U.S. economy. // © 2018 Getty Images

The Details

Bureau of Economic Analysis

U.S. Travel Association

International visitors to the U.S. in 2017 spent 3.3 percent less through November than at the same point the previous year, according to the International Trade report released in early January by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Why It Matters:
The U.S. travel industry supports 15.3 million un-exportable American jobs, and during the five years prior to November, travel had outperformed overall U.S. export growth, generating an $87 billion trade surplus in 2016 (without that surplus, the U.S. trade deficit that year would have been 17 percent higher). However, the fall in spending means losses of $4.6 billion to the U.S. economy and 40,000 jobs. A strong travel industry, including international inbound travel, is vital to the overall economy.

Fast Facts:
- The U.S. Department of Commerce report continues a “troubling data trend for the travel industry,” according to U.S. Travel Association.

- Visit U.S. Coalition, of which U.S. Travel is a founding member, launched Jan. 16 and aims to bring together a broad cross-section of industries whose goal is to partner with President Donald Trump’s administration to address the decline in international visitation.

- The Visit U.S. launch included fresh data showing that the U.S. has been falling behind the rest of the world in competing for lucrative overseas travelers since before Trump took office.

What They Are Saying:
“For our country to have any hope of closing the trade gap, international inbound travel must perform, simple as that,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association. “After almost a decade and a half of relatively sustained post-9/11 recovery, since 2015 there’s been evidence that the country has gotten complacent with the policies needed to support this vital economic engine and job creator.”

“Flourishing international travel is vital to Trump’s economic goal of sustained 3 percent GDP growth, and the Visit U.S. coalition is being founded for the express purpose of helping him achieve it,” Dow added. “Our guiding principle is that we can have strong national security and still welcome legitimate international visitors. We can do both — and, in fact, without effective security there can be no travel, as we witnessed after Sept. 11, 2001.”

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