US sees growth in foreign tourism

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The Independent Online

The number of foreign visitors to the United States is expected to increase six percent this year and show solid growth through 2014, a new government forecast showed Wednesday.

The Commerce Department report foresees five percent growth in 2011-2013, and record a seven percent increase in 2014.

"This is good news for the travel and tourism industries, but it is also great news for the national economy," said Francisco Sanchez, under secretary of commerce for international trade, who announced the findings at an international travel industry meeting.

"It is particularly good news for individuals who are looking for jobs to make up for the losses we incurred when the recession began in 2007."

The US travel and tourism industries were hit hard after the 2001 terror attacks and subsequent recession, recovering somewhat in the following years before a slump in 2009 during the global economic crisis.

The new figures show and estimated 58.4 million international visitors expected in 2010, up from 54.9 million in 2009. This is likely to grow to 71.8 million in 2014, according to the report.

The largest numbers of visitors come from Canada and Mexico, followed by the region of Western Europe. But the biggest growth in expected from South America - around 11 percent this year - while the number of visits from Asia is likely to increase 9.0 percent in 2010.

International visitors to the United States spent 31.8 billion dollars in the first quarter of this year, a four percent growth from the same period in 2009. The visitors spent a total of 121 billion dollars in 2009, according to government data.