Who's not ready for some good economic news? Well here you go. Visitors from other nations spent an estimated $82.2 billion in the United States on travel and tourism-related goods and services during the first six months of 2012 and are well on their way to setting even more spending records, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
That $82.2 billion was, in fact, 11% more than visitors to our shores spent during the first six months of last year. If the current trend continues, as commerce officials think it will, foreign visitors could end up pumping an all-time record $169 billion or more into the U.S. economy by the end of this year.
In May 2012, the Obama administration announced its National Travel and Tourism Strategy, setting a goal of attracting more than 100 million international visitors annually by 2021, resulting in more than $250 billion annually in revenue. The strategy also encourages more Americans to travel - and spend -- within the United States.
While they are here, foreign visitors to the U.S. purchase goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation, and other items incidental to foreign travel.
Purchases of those U.S. goods and services by foreign visitors totaled $10.6 billion in June alone, an increase of 7% compared to June 2011.
The Cost of Getting Here: In June 2012, U.S. airlines and ocean liner operators took in $3.3 billion from international visitors, a full 6% more than last year. During the first six months of this year, the U.S. air and vessel operators received nearly $19.6 billion from international visitors, including fares and on-board expenditures.
"The travel data released today indicate that the second quarter of 2012 set a new record for travel and tourism exports," said Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank in a press release. "Tourism is a bright spot in our economy and is our number one services export."