Celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week – It’s Been a Great Year so Far

May 11, 2011

Helen Marano is the Director of ITA’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) and is a 20+ year travel and tourism industry veteran.

This week we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week by recognizing the men, women, businesses, tour operators, hotels, rental car agencies, and all forms of transportation that make up the travel and tourism industry in the United States. The travel and tourism industry accounts for nearly 3 percent of our nation’s GDP and 5.5 million people are directly employed in travel and tourism jobs. The total impact of travel and tourism and tourism on the U.S. was $1.33 trillion in 2010, up seven percent over 2009. 

One thing that some people may not understand about international travelers is that when they come to see our natural wonders, attend a major trade show or conference or attend business meetings it is considered a service export. Travel and tourism is the largest service export from the United States and we’ve enjoyed a trade surplus since 1989. International visitors spent $134 billion in 2010 and the top countries that send visitors to the United States include Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany.

The U.S. is second only to France in our share of world travelers, and we are the top country for international travel spending.  The fastest growth markets for international travel to the U.S. are forecast to come from China, Brazil, Korea, India and Australia. 

Twice a year the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries issues a forecast of tourism arrivals to the U.S. The forecast covers 12 world regions and 200 origin countries. The program provides forecasted arrivals for a 6-year horizon.

The release of the forecast data is timed to coincide with the Discover America International POW WOW conference in May, hosted in San Francisco this year between May 21st and the 25th, and the Outlook Forum in October each year.

The most recent forecast, which projects arrivals through 2015, predicts that international arrivals will reach nearly 83 million, an increase of 51 percent from 2009, through 2015.

We will be releasing our upcoming forecast covering 2011-2016 during this year’s POW WOW so keep an eye on this spot for new and data in the upcoming weeks.


  1. Didn’t know that US has so good growth in this industry. I have always thought that some of the Caribbean countries are the leaders in this industry.

    • Really? America has been experiencing excellent growth in tourism for a long time – mostly because of the falling dollar.

  2. I believe that we are 2nd to France in world visitors. There is so much to see and experience in this country. Maybe the government would want to focus on making that strong point even stronger? Good post

  3. I am from Spain a every turistic country and I have notice that our government spend a lot of money trying to get more tourists every year and it works, so I think what USA is doing is very good.

  4. Living in the UK it is an easy option to head to the US for a holiday. We speak the same langauge (most of the time!) There is a greart selection of flights from the UK to US cities and there is so much to see in your country as your people make us feel so welcome. Keep up the good work.

  5. Congratulations America

  6. I believe that USA should try this even stronger because it will work sooner or later, tourism brings a lot of money to a country, plus it is a beautiful country with a lot to see, to do and to learn

  7. With our economies in such turmoil attracting international tourists is essential for the health the small local business and countries like the USA providing such a diverse array of interests for visitors, other nations should be looking to follow this lead as an example and invest in attractions to suit everyone, for every age, pleasure and pastime. Here in Brighton UK tourism is the backbone of local business, so certainly understand the importance of foreign holiday maker

  8. I live in Spain but originally come from the UK where I live most of my life. I think there is many people that prefer to go to the U.S or Canada as the language barrier isn’t as difficult. And I would also just like to mention that growth of tourism will never drop to such a dangerous level as some industries as we are all hooked on travelling. One way or another we find the money to be able to take our holidays.

  9. I have lived in the UK all my life. I know many people that would prefer to go to America as the language barrier isn’t as difficult and whether is always nicer. Here in the UK it’s always raining!

  10. I am impressed with the forecast for US tourism industry. I am from UK and I see how many of my friends are planning holidays in US every year.

  11. Being Canadian i have made so many trips to the US and always found the US to be one of the easiest places to travel. Friendly people, easy services and a plethora of things to do! I did not realize that the US outranks France for tourism… fascinating!

  12. I am French and it’s true that my trip to America gave me a great memory! I hope you will have the opportunity to discover our country.

  13. Hola. muy interesante articulo, volvere para seguir visitando este sitio…

  14. Every Nation should encourage tourism in their nation and US has always been great in this. Traveling in the US is the easiest thing a person can do.

  15. These stats looks great. I would love to visit more cities in the United States in near future. I live in Germany, and USA tourism does not have enough marketing here i think.

  16. I live in France, i once had the opportunity to visit your country and yes it is beautiful.

  17. We live over in Switzerland, and yes, America is one of the most beautiful countries on the whole wide world

  18. We think they are predicting right in the sense Tourism Industry is developing globally; U.S.A is a good country for the visitors because of the same language (mostly).

  19. Travel plays an important role in the nation’s economical boost up. As per predictions it will put Americans back to work. The website http://www.ustravel.org/events/international-pow-wow does not help global visitors to get travel guide information, it needs more improvements.

  20. Travel is an important part of our life. Thanks for this article

  21. We live in Thailand (I’m Dutch but my wife is Thai) and visited your country several times. I think the US is an amazing country for tourists because of its’ diversity in culture and nature. We defenitily will visit your wonderfull country again.

  22. lot of useful information. I’ll be watching. Thank you!

  23. This is great very helpful. congratulations

  24. I am from Spain a every turistic country and I have notice that our government spend a lot of money trying to get more tourists every year and it works, so I think what USA is doing is very good.

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