PRESS RELEASE: VISIT U.S. COALITION RESPONDS TO DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 2017 TRADE NUMBERS

Washington – Today, the Department of Commerce released 2017 data for international trade in goods and services, which according to travel industry analysis, reflects a 3.1 percent decrease in visitor spending over the past year—the second consecutive annual drop in 15 years. In response, the Visit U.S. Coalition released the following statement:

“Today’s release brings into sharp focus the urgent need to reverse the decline in international inbound travel to the United States,” said Visit U.S. spokesman Amos Snead. “The number of international travelers to the U.S. has been declining since 2015—and every year of decline represents billions of dollars lost, and that ripple effect is felt throughout the American economy. The Visit U.S. Coalition was formed to work with the Administration to increase international inbound travel, and thus increase economic growth. Through smart policies and a welcoming message, we can ensure that the United States is the most secure and most visited country in the world.

“The two-year falloff in international visitor spending tracks with America’s loss in long-haul market share, which fell from 13.6 percent to 11.9 percent between 2015 to 2017, while global travel volume increased 7.9 percent in the same period,” said Snead. “Around the globe, more people are traveling than ever before, and we cannot allow the U.S. to fall behind other nations in attracting international travelers. President Trump has made it a priority to shrink our trade deficit and growing inbound travel can play a big part of achieving that success.”

The Commerce Department reported today that following a 2.8 percent decline in 2016, spending by international visitors in the U.S. fell 3.1 percent in 2017 to a level or $149 billion — the lowest level since 2013. The declines in 2016 and 2017 in international visitor spending in the U.S. marked the first time since the 2002-2003 that this spending declined over two consecutive years. From 2015 to 2017, spending by international visitors declined by 5.8 percent, while other U.S. exports increased by 3.5 percent.

The overall trade surplus in travel was $70 billion in 2017 – down from $84 billion in 2016 – making it the smallest trade surplus since 2010.

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The Visit U.S. Coalition represents a broad cross-section of industries that have come together to address the decline in international travelers to the U.S. and resulting opportunity cost to the U.S. economy and jobs.