US tourism spending hits record high

- Posted in America by Visa Bureauon 27 February 2013

The US has been one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for generations yet growth in the industry slowed almost to a stop following the events of September 11th when US visa and airport security restrictions were tightened.

In the following 10 years, the global tourism industry grew massively but, despite America's enduring popularity visitors went elsewhere.

At the beginning of last year, President Obama tasked his State Department with making it easier for big spending tourists such as those from Brazil and China to visit the US, and the results are already beginning to show.

A spokesperson for the US Department of Commerce said 66 million foreign visitors entered the US in 2012, spending $168.1 billion (£111 billion) in the process. The spokesperson said the biggest increases had come from countries with emerging middle classes - particularly Brazil and China.

The areas with the highest levels of growth continued be traditional tourist sites such as New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco but the spokesperson added that all regions with "coasts that are close to Asia and South America will see the notable effects'.

Europeans have traditionally been American's largest source of international tourism revenue but with the continent still struggling to shake off the effects of recession, the Department of Commerce expects India, China and Brazil to more than take up the slack.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.