Roundtable Weekly
International Visitor Spending in the U.S. Drops; โ€œVisit U.S.โ€ Coalition Aims to Spur Tourism and Economic Growth
February 10, 2018

Spending by international travelers to the U.S. decreased 3.1 percent over the past year, the second consecutive annual drop in 15 years, according to Department of Commerce data released Tuesday.  (U.S. Travel Association, Feb. 7)

Travel Exports vs. All Other Exports  
(U.S. Travel Association)

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As the U.S. hospitality sector is a vital component of the commercial real estate industry – providing significant capital investment, opportunities and infrastructure improvements in local communities throughout the country – The Real Estate Roundtable recently joined 12 other national trade organizations as a member of the "Visit U.S." Coalition to work with policymakers in reversing the decline. (Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 19).  

The two-year fall-off in international visitor spending confirmed by Commerce data also tracks America’s loss in long-haul market share – a decrease from 13.6 percent in 2015 to 11.9 percent in 2017.  Overall travel volume increased 7.9 percent in the same period – meaning that foreign travelers are opting to visit other countries than the US and spending their money elsewhere. (U.S. Travel AssociationTravel Exports vs. All Other Exports, Feb. 2)

"The slide (in international travel to the U.S.) has deprived our economy of an estimated $32 billion in additional spending and 100,000 additional jobs."

 U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow

“We are certainly concerned about the statistics,” said Craig Kalkut, vice president of government affairs at the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) – a founding member of the Visit U.S. coalition.  Kalkut added, “It’s important for the hotel industry but also the businesses that surround [and occupy] hotels and the economy overall, so it’s time to take some action.” (Commercial Observer, Feb. 8)

USTA President and CEO Roger Dow stated, “International inbound travel is America’s No. 2 export overall; directly supports more than a million American jobs; and brings in $245 billion a year to our economy. But the U.S. share of the growing global long-haul travel market has been eroding since before the start of the Trump administration … That slide has deprived our economy of an estimated $32 billion in additional spending and 100,000 additional jobs. The good news? The problem is fixable, through balanced messaging and sound policymaking.”  (USTA, International Visitors Are Crucial to President Trump’s Priorities, Feb. 7)

In the coming weeks, Visit U.S. will advance policy recommendations that support its shared objectives with the Trump administration. (Visit U.S., Jan. 16)