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For Immediate Release: May 20, 2008
Contact: Matt Englehart   (202) 482-3809

Visitation Up 15 percent, Spending at $11.6 billion for February 2008

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that visitation to and spending in the United States from global visitors continued to rise through February 2008, setting an all-time record.

“The United States has welcomed record numbers of global visitors to our nation over the past year,” said Commerce Manufacturing and Services Assistant Secretary William G. Sutton. “The strong start in 2008 builds on the momentum set by visitors in 2007, which was a record-breaking year for international arrivals and receipts. The economic contribution of global visitors during their time in the United States boosts the U.S. economy.”

In February 2008, 3.3 million international visitors traveled to the United States, an increase of 15 percent over February 2007. For January and February combined, 13 percent more international visitors came to the United States when compared to the same period last year.

International visitors spent a record $11.6 billion in the United States in February, a 26 percent increase from February 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 component to the U.S. economy, fueling economic growth and job creation. This robust growth in 2008 continues a trend of increased receipts in the previous four years, including three years – 2004, 2005 and 2007 – that recorded double-digit growth.

Highlights of February 2008 International Arrivals to the United States

  • Overseas arrivals (excluding Canada and Mexico) increased 11 percent over February 2007 and were up 10 percent year-to-date continuing the strong growth experienced in 2007.
  • Visitation from Canada was up 24 percent for February and 18 percent for 2008.
  • Mexican travel to the U.S. interior was up 8 percent in February and 9 percent for 2008.
  • Visitation from Western Europe increased 17 percent in February and 14 percent for 2008.
  • Arrivals from the United Kingdom were up 11 percent in February and 9 percent for 2008.
  • Other large Western European markets all increased by double-digits in February, as well as for the year. German, French and Italian arrivals were up 24 percent, 22 percent and 17 percent, respectively, for February. The Netherlands, Spain, Ireland and Sweden were also up 17 percent, 22 percent, 21 percent and 22 percent, respectively, for February.

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. To view OTTI visitation data tables, please visit:


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