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For Immediate Release
Contact: Monica Hill, 202-482-3809
Monday, October 30, 2000

Commerce Predicts Record Number of International Travelers
to the U.S. in 2000 Through The Year 2003,
Fueling U.S. Job Increases and Economic Growth

Washington, D.C. — A record setting 52.7 million international travelers will visit the United States this year, pumping almost $106 billion into the American economy, according to a revised international travel forecast released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Tourism Industries. The inbound travel forecast predicts the number of arrivals this year will increase by 4 million or 9 percent over 1999, with continued healthy growth through 2003.

"We expect that this year will mark the eleventh consecutive year of a trade surplus in inbound travel to the United States," said Commerce Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. "International travel to America is one of our top exports, helping fuel a robust economy and supporting more than 1.1 million U.S. jobs in a range of industry sectors."

Tourism is America's fourth largest export category, and the Tourism Industries' forecast shows continual growth in international travel to the U.S. from 2000 through 2003. Last year, 48.5 million international visitors contributed $95 billion in revenues to the U.S. economy. In three years, the number of international visitors to the U.S. is expected to grow to 62.7 million--generating $136 billion in export revenue.

"This is an outstanding contribution to the future health of our economy underscoring the magnitude of the tourism and travel industry," said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tourism Industries Leslie Doggett.

Continued economic growth in Europe and Asia is the key to U.S. visitor arrivals. Europe is projected to see its seventh straight year of increased visitation to America, maintaining their role as the top generating overseas region. Visitors from Europe are expected to surpass 14 million by 2003, an increase of 25 percent over 1999. Asian visitors are forecasted to almost reach 9.7 million by 2003, or a 39% growth over the 1999 arrivals total.

During that same period, visitors from South America are projected to reach 3.3 million, while the number of travelers from Central America could reach 1 million. Arrivals from Canada should continue to show growth for the next five years, reaching 17.4 million.

The forecast data reflect current world economic indicators and use a relationship between past historical international arrival levels to project upcoming visitation for the next several years. The data will be used by the U.S. travel industry to develop strategic analyses of plans to attract even greater numbers of travelers and to expand the export earnings generated from international travel to the country.

The forecast covers more than 30 countries and all world regions. It will be available on the Tourism Industries Internet site at (http://tinet.ita.doc.gov).



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