Uptick in foreigners' US travel spending in 2010: study

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The Independent Travel

Foreign visitors spent $134.4 billion "experiencing" the United States in 2010, or nearly 12 percent more than the $120.3 billion they spent the year before, the US Department of Commerce said Tuesday.

"Experiencing" the United States includes fares purchased from US carriers by foreign visitors, which were up by more than 18 percent year-on-year to $31.3 billion, and purchases made in the United States of travel- and tourism-related goods and services, which rose 10 percent to $103.1 billion.

The biggest increase in foreign visitor spending came from the Chinese, who spent 39 percent more in the United States last year than in 2009.

Visitors from Singapore and South Korea increased their tourism-related spending in the United States by 31 percent and 30 percent respectively, helping to boost US travel and tourism exports to the Asia/Pacific region by 18 percent last year, the largest increase for any world region.

Brazilian and Canadian visitors spent around 30 percent more "experiencing" the United States in 2010 than they did the previous year, and double-digit percentage increases in spending were also seen among Australian, Indian and Japanese visitors to the United States, the study says.

"In fact, every single country and region reported gains in total travel and tourism-related spending in the United States in 2010, except France and Belgium/Luxembourg," the report says, without giving reasons for the decline.

In a report released last week, US travel industry leaders said the United States could help to double exports within five years and create 1.3 million new jobs by 2020 by increasing the number of foreign visitors to the country.

A key first step towards achieving that would be to scrap the "burdensome" US visitor visa system, which often sees a Chinese or Brazilian businessman or tourist wait six months or longer for authorization to come to the United States, that report said.

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