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For Immediate Release: April 29, 2008
Contact: Matt Braud   (202) 482-3809


International visitation up 11 percent & Spending at $11.4 billion for January 2008

WASHINGTON–The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that in January 2008, visitation to the United States, as well as spending by those visitors, continued to rise, marked by 3.4 million international visitors, an increase of 11 percent over January 2007.

International visitors also spent a record $11.38 billion in January, a 23 percent increase from January 2007.  Spending by international travelers while in the United States, including travel receipts and passenger fares, is defined as a U.S. export.  Exports are a critical driver of economic growth in the U.S. economy.  In 2007, the United States exported $1.6 trillion of goods and services—nearly a 13.0 percent increase over 2006.

“The travel and tourism industry has a growing and positive impact on our economy,” said Commerce Manufacturing and Services Assistant Secretary William G. Sutton.  “The strong start in 2008 builds on the momentum set in 2007, which was a record-breaking year for international arrivals and receipts.” 

The U.S. travel and tourism industry is a $1.3 trillion industry employing 8.7 million people, and has generated a trade surplus for 19 consecutive years. 

Highlights of Jan 2008 International Arrivals to the United States (compared to Jan 2007)

  • Overseas arrivals (excluding Canada and Mexico) increased 9 percent continuing the strong growth experienced in 2007. 
  • Visitation from Canada was up 13 percent.
  • Arrivals from Mexico were up 10 percent. 
  • Visitation from Western Europe increased 11 percent. 
  • Arrivals from the United Kingdom were up almost 6 percent following solid growth in 2007.
  • Other large Western European markets increased by double-digits.  German, French, and Italian arrivals were up 13 percent, 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively.  The Netherlands, Spain, and Ireland were up 16 percent, 17 percent and 22 percent, respectively.


The Department of Commerce Manufacturing and Services’ Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) collects, analyzes, and disseminates international travel and tourism statistics for the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System.  For more information on OTTI programs, please visit:

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