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For Immediate Release 
Contact: Monica Hill, 202-482-3809

Monday, May 8, 2000 
 

GROWTH IN INTERNATIONAL VISITORS BOOSTS U.S. ECONOMY

Washington, D.C. -- New figures issued today by the Commerce Department shows that international travel and tourism generated a $14 billion trade surplus in 1999, marking the tenth consecutive year in which it has done so. This was due to a record 48.5 million international travelers who visited the United States last year, an increase of 5 percent over 1998. 

"This is great news for the United States, as tourism exports support a wide-range of sectors and 1.1 million jobs in the U.S. economy," said Commerce Secretary William M. Daley. "Last year international travelers contributed nearly $96 billion to the U.S. economy, an increase of over 100 percent since 1989." 

Last year, international travelers to the United States generated more than $11 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues. The United States is the leading country in the world for tourism receipts and ranks third behind France and Spain for international visitors.

Canada's stronger economy, a recovering Asia, and Western Europe's steady economic growth, all played a major role in the stronger than expected growth in 1999 arrivals to the United States. 

The NAFTA partners continue to be the top international source markets for the United States. Canada reached over 14 million arrivals to the U.S. last year, an increase of 5 percent over 1998. Mexico followed with more than 9.9 million arrivals, for a jump of nearly 7 percent. 

The tourism figures reveal that Japan remains the overseas leader in tourism arrivals to the United States, topping 4.8 million in 1999, closely followed by the United Kingdom at 4.3 million. Germany and France ranked as the third and fourth overseas markets with nearly 2 million and over 1 million visitors, respectively. 

In 1999, California became the top state visited by overseas travelers (6.2 million), surpassing Florida with over 5.8 million visitors. California and Florida have traded places over the years as the top destination. 

The other top 10 states/territories visited were: New York (5.8 million), Hawaii (2.7 million), Nevada (2.4 million), Illinois (1.3 million), Massachusetts (1.3 million), Texas (1.1 million), Guam (1.0 million), and New Jersey (905,000).

Top city destinations for overseas visitors for 1999 were: New York City (5.5 million), Los Angeles (3.6 million), Miami (2.9 million), Orlando (2.9 million), San Francisco (2.8 million), Las Vegas (2.3 million), Honolulu (2.2 million), Washington, DC (1.3 million), Chicago (1.3 million), and Boston (1.2 million).

More information is available on the Office of Tourism Industries' website at http://tinet.ita.doc.gov.

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