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For Immediate Release: March 8, 2006
Contact: Matt Englehart   (202) 482-3809




Visitation to the United States Up 7 Percent Over 2004

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that total international travel and tourism exports - which is travel-related tourism spending in the United States - reached the record level of $104.8 billion in 2005, surpassing the $103.1 billion mark set the year before 9-11. This represents a 12 percent increase of $11.5 billion in travel exports over 2004. In addition, 2005 saw a 7 percent increase in international visitation to the United States to 49.4 million visitors.

"Today's data show that America remains one of the top destinations for international visitors," said Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez. "Collectively, these visitors are spending record levels during their stay, which helps employ more than 8 million Americans."

Travel imports slowed in 2005 with U.S. travelers spending $95.1 billion on travel-related goods and services abroad, a 6 percent increase over 2004. As a result, the U.S. travel and tourism industry finished the year with a $9.7 billion surplus.

2005 Travel and Tourism Highlights

  • In 2005, the United States saw the highest recorded number of visitors from 58 of the more than 200 countries for which data are available.
  • Travel and tourism exports accounted for 8 percent of all exports and represented 29 percent of all private service exports in 2005, positioning it as the single largest private service export.
  • 2005 marks the seventeenth consecutive year that the travel and tourism industry has generated a balance of trade surplus.
  • In 2005, the surplus gained $6 billion over 2004, an increase of 142 percent. It is the second consecutive year the surplus has more than doubled.

To access the 2005 balance of trade data for the travel and tourism industry as well as the 50 Markets for International Arrivals to the United States in 2005 and 2004, visit the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.