Archive for the ‘Travel and Tourism’ Category


Transportation: Helping the Economy Move Forward

August 7, 2012

Francisco Sánchez serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Follow him on Twitter @UnderSecSanchez.

Healthy economic development depends on a healthy transportation system.  That’s because people depend on everything from boats to trains to get to work, move their products, and help customers shop at their stores.

Across the globe, as economies push for more growth and development, there is increasing demand for transportation-related products and services, presenting an incredible opportunity for U.S. businesses.

Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez during a ceremony formalizing a partnership to promote exports between ITA and the American Association of Port Authorities.

Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez during a ceremony formalizing a partnership to promote exports between ITA and the American Association of Port Authorities.

For that exact reason, a major focus of our work at the International Trade Administration is on the transportation sector.  As you’ll see in this issue of International Trade Update, we’ve been working to help U.S. businesses in this field succeed in a number of ways.

For example, I was proud to participate in the Farnborough International Air Show, the world’s largest aerospace trade exhibition of 2012. Every other year, the global aerospace industry descends on England to exhibit their latest products and initiate partnerships. This year, $47 billion worth — that’s billion with a ‘b,’ — of orders were announced during the show.

As the largest aerospace industry in the world, this one sector contributed more than $89 billion in export sales to the U.S. economy in 2011, a 9 percent increase over the previous year. Furthermore, according to a study by the Economic and Statistics Administration of the Department of Commerce, aerospace directly supported more jobs through exports — 488,000 —than any other industry in 2011.

Other promising transportation sectors that achieved significant export shipments last year include motor vehicles ($63.4 billion), motor vehicle parts ($53.2 billion) and ships and boats ($2.4 billion).  Behind all these numbers is a significant story. Every time a business makes a sale abroad, that impacts bottom lines, jobs, communities and futures here at home.

Clearly, there are significant possibilities in this space. And the good news is that in the first five months of 2012, transportation equipment accounted for nearly $101 billion of U.S. exports, up 17.2 percent from the same months of 2011.

ITA is committed to keeping this momentum going. We continue to hold trade missions focused on transportation, including some later this year to South Africa, Zambia and Turkey.

We support the President’s recent announcement to help modernize and expand 5 major ports in the United States, thereby helping American businesses reach overseas markets more efficiently.

ITA is committed to keeping this momentum going.  We continue to raise a lot of awareness for our programs and will work hard to promote international trade, open foreign markets, and create jobs and opportunities for the American people.

Together, we can help the world meet its transportations needs far into the future, while strengthening businesses on our shores.



International Visitors to the U.S. Jumped 9 Percent in February 2012

April 27, 2012

Claudia Wolfe is an Economist in the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) within the International Trade Administration where she focuses on international visitation to the United States.

As Pow Wow winds down this week, it’s great news that international visitation to the U.S. is up this year over last year.

The number of international visitors to the United States rose 9 percent in February from a year ago, after record arrivals in 2011 and an increase in visits in January 2012.

A total 4.2 million international visitors came to the U.S., with the largest number from nearby Canada and Mexico in February of this year.

Of the top 10 nations sending visitors to the U.S., two countries posted double-digit growth: Brazil and China. Brazil is up more than 27 percent in 2012 over last year with 294,052 arriving in the U.S. and visitors from China so far in 2012 total 227,856, up 40 percent over last year.

Miami, New York’s JFK and Los Angeles LAX airports were the three busiest ports of entry for international travelers in February.

For more information, visit OTTI’s monthly visitation page


Travel Forecast Projects Increase in International Visitors between Four and Five Percent by 2016

April 25, 2012

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Mark Brown is a Senior Market Research Analyst with the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries in the Manufacturing and Services division of the International Trade Administration

This week is a pretty exciting time for the travel and tourism industry. The U.S. Travel Association’s annual International Pow Wow trade show event, is taking place in Los Angeles and was the venue for Commerce Secretary John Bryson to release the 2012-2016 travel forecast. The U.S. Department of Commerce produces a semi-annual travel forecast, one in the spring to coincide with the Pow Wow event, and one in the fall to coincide with an annual travel industry marketing outlook event.

Our latest forecast shows that international traveler volume to the United States is expected to build on the two consecutive visitor volume records set in 2010 and 2011 and grow at a four percent to five percent rate from 2012 through 2016.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez cuts the ribbon to open Pow Wow 2012 with Travel and Tourism officials

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez cuts the ribbon to open Pow Wow 2012 with Travel and Tourism officials

When compared to the fall 2011 forecast, the spring 2012 forecast represents a further downward revision in visitor volume growth, and the fall had been revised downward compared to the spring 2011 forecast. These revisions reflect several factors, including 2011’s solid, but below-forecast performance, and the International Monetary Fund’s revision of economic conditions for many of the U.S. top visitor origin markets.

That’s the bad news. But the good news is that the forecast still projects solid growth in visitor volume over the 2012 to 2016 period…and at a level higher than the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s forecast for the world, which is between 3.5 percent and 3.8 percent annual growth over this period.

The current forecast for the USA also does not yet factor in the potential impact from the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 legislation, which was signed into law in March 2010. The law established the non-profit Corporation for Travel Promotion, now known as BrandUSA, and a funding mechanism to market the USA as a premier travel destination. BrandUSA just unveiled their marketing plan at the Los Angeles Pow Wow event. Their impact on travel to the USA would be above and beyond the Department’s forecast levels.

If the forecast holds true, visitor volume would grow from 62.3 million in 2011 to reach 65.4 million in 2012 and 76.6 million by 2016. This translates into total growth of 14.4 million additional visitors in 2016 compared to 2011, growth of 23% versus the 2011 level, and a compounded annual growth rate of 4.2 percent.

Related: TAKE-OFF! (traveling, that is) New Travel Indicators Website Launched
International Visitors to the U.S. Jumped 9 Percent in February 2012

Tourists from all world regions are forecast to grow over the five-year period, ranging from a low for the Caribbean (+9 percent), to a high for Asia (+49 percent), South America (+47 percent), and Africa (+47 percent). All but three of the top-40 visitor origin countries are forecast to grow from 2011 through 2016. Countries with the largest total growth percentages include China (+198 percent), Brazil (+70 percent), Argentina (+46 percent), Australia (+45 percent), Korea (+35 percent), and Venezuela (+35 percent).

It’s important to monitor the fast-growing markets, but what matters more are the largest-growth markets. The North America world region is forecast to account for the largest proportion of the total visitor growth of 14 million visitors (42 percent). Asia (25 percent), Western Europe (11 percent), and South America (13 percent) are expected to account for the bulk of the remaining 58 percent of total growth in visitor volume forecast in 2016 compared to 2011 actual volume.

The countries contributing the most to total growth by 2016 are Canada (additional 4.47 million visitors), China (2.16 additional visitors), Mexico (1.54 million additional visitors, Brazil (1.06 million additional visitors), and Australia (463 thousand additional visitors).

To learn more about the spring 2012 Travel and Tourism Forecast, visit To learn more about Commerce’s efforts to increase travel to the U.S., visit


International Tourism Spending in 2011 Supported 103,000 Additional Tourism-Related Jobs

March 21, 2012

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Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale is the Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services

We always know when it’s Spring in Washington, D.C. – the city comes alive with our glorious cherry blossom trees (celebrating their 100th anniversary this year with an extended National Cherry Blossom Festival, having been gifted to the United States by Japan in 1912) – and we begin to see the “annual migration” of hundreds of groups who come to the nation’s capital to participate in educational, leisure, and business events, taking in the beautiful sights while they’re here.

Tourists enjoy the annual cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin

Tourists enjoy the annual cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin (Photo Destination DC)

For some, the visitors are viewed as an annoyance because they crowd the subways and sidewalks, as well as daily lunch spots and favorite shops.  For others of us, however, we welcome them with open arms, right along with the arrival of the cherry blossoms and the warmer weather.  In particular, we welcome our international visitors, who, last year, spent $153 billion dollars while visiting the United States.

62 million international visitors came to the United States in 2011, an increase of 2.5 million over 2010.  These 62 million visitors spent 14 percent more on travel and tourism-related goods and services last year than in 2010.  Their spending supported an additional 103,000 travel and tourism industry jobs!

These figures come on the heels of President Obama’s January 19th announcement implementing new initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States.  The industry plays a vital role in supporting a robust economy and should be recognized for the positive impacts it makes.

As part of the initiatives to increase travel and tourism in the United States, President Obama created a Task Force for Travel and Competitiveness last month to build on this momentum and continue to create jobs.

In the announcement, the President charged our Secretary of Commerce, John Bryson, and Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar with developing recommendations for a National Travel and Tourism Strategy to promote domestic and international travel opportunities throughout the U.S., thereby expanding job creation for our industry.

The Task Force is primarily focused on strategies for increasing tourism and recreation jobs by promoting visits to our national treasures; our national parks, wild refuges, cultural and historic sites, monuments and other public lands that can attract travelers from around the country and the globe.

As part of those efforts, Commerce’s International Trade Administration supplies the travel and tourism industry with important data, including international arrivals to the U.S., the forecast of international travel to America for over 30 countries, and estimates of the total impact of travel and tourism on the economy, among others.

In December 2011 alone, international visitors spent $12.6 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States, which is a 9 percent increase over December 2010. Travel and tourism-related exports increased, on average, more than $1.5 billion a month in 2011.

Instead of viewing our guests as a nuisance to be avoided, I’d recommend saying “thank you” to the next group of visitors you encounter.  They’re helping support your friends and neighbors through their spending, and they’re helping us all continue to bolster the economy!

To learn more about Commerce’s efforts to increase travel to the United States, please visit the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.


Turning an International City into an International Exporter

February 2, 2012

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Francisco J. Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Exports, exports, exports.

(L-R) D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, DSLBD Director Harold Pettigrew, SBA Deputy Associate Administrator Luz Hopwell, and Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez at the ExportDC announcement.

(L-R) DSLBD Director Harold Pettigrew, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, SBA Deputy Associate Administrator Luz Hopwell, and Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez at the ExportDC announcement.

You hear a lot about the benefits of exports these days. Whether it’s exporting services like travel and tourism, or manufactured goods like cars or yarn, businesses around the country are supporting their communities’ economic recovery through market expansion.

Exports have also become part of the national dialogue.  President Obama touched on the National Export Initiative (NEI) in his recent State of the Union address. Commerce Secretary John Bryson highlighted the potential of international markets when laying out his vision for the Department in December.

Personally, I have traveled across the country talking about the importance of selling U.S. products overseas, and showcasing export success stories to inspire new ones.  I’ve seen a lot of great things happening at the local level.  It’s where progress often begins.

That’s why, yesterday, I was proud to participate in DC Mayor Vincent Gray‘s announcement of the formation of ExportDC.  According to the mission statement, the effort was created “to increase the number of DC small businesses that export, grow the dollar value of exports from District businesses, and coordinate trade missions for qualified District-based businesses.”

Why is this important? Consider the following:

  • As Mayor Gray mentioned: data show firms that export grow faster, create more jobs and pay wages 13-18 percent higher than firms that don’t;
  • According to the International Monetary Fund, 85 percent of the world’s economic growth over the next five years will take place abroad; and
  • 9.2 million American jobs were supported by U.S. exports in 2010.

With the obvious benefits of servicing foreign markets, it’s unfortunate that only one percent of American businesses export, and 58 percent of those only export to one market.  That is why President Obama launched the NEI two years ago, with the goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.  And the International Trade Administration (ITA) has been working at home and abroad to make sure every U.S. business has access to the resources they need to enter and thrive in international markets.

ITA’s U.S. Export Assistance Centers with 108 offices nationwide, have partnered with local communities to provide more complete and comprehensive support to businesses looking to start or expand their export markets.

Mayor Gray’s ExportDC is just one of the latest cooperative efforts between federal and local governments. The Northern Virginia USEAC will collaborate with Export DC on trade missions, networking sessions and other programming that will help DC businesses find new overseas buyers.

Together, ExportDC, ITA and other outstanding federal and local partners will help DC businesses sell their products and services abroad. This is important because when local businesses prosper, communities prosper. When communities prosper, cities prosper. And when cities prosper, our entire nation prospers.


Travel and Tourism Gets a Presidential Boost

January 19, 2012
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Michael Masserman is the Director of the Office of Advisory Committees within the Manufacturing and Services division of the International Trade Administration

The new travel and tourism advisory board with Commerce Secretary John Bryson

The new travel and tourism advisory board with Commerce Secretary John Bryson

Against the backdrop of Disney World, President Obama signed an executive order that will boost tourism to the United States and ultimately create jobs. The order will create, among other things, a Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness that will develop and deliver within 90 days a National Travel and Tourism Strategy that will help encourage international visitors to come to the United States. More than 47 million international visitors have arrived to see our sights, attend conferences, take family vacations, visit natural wonders, theme parks and experience what we have to offer. Developing a national tourism strategy and streamlining the visa process for non-immigrant visas will attract more tourists and create more jobs.

Commerce Secretary Bryson this week also welcomed the 32 members (19 of whom have never before served) of the re-chartered Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. The Board serves as the principal private sector advisory committee to the Secretary of Commerce on the U.S. travel and tourism industry.

As the new Board gets situated in their new role as advisors, they will be building on the foundation laid out by previous Boards. Originally chartered in 2003, the Board has been conferring and advising the Secretary on everything from revival of the Gulf Coast Region to recommendations on energy security and travel facilitation.

Members represent companies and organizations in the travel and tourism industry from a broad range of products and services, company sizes and geographic locations. Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon will serve as Chair and Sam Gilliand, Chairman and CEO of Sabre Holdings will serve as Vice-Chair. Both are returning members to the Board and will provide leadership in the activities of the new Board that will build on work of their predecessors.

The travel and tourism industry is a crucial part of the U.S. services economy whose strength and growth is essential to the economic health of our nation. Travel and tourism is a $1.2 trillion sector of the U.S. economy or nearly three percent of Gross Domestic Product. Critical to the nation’s overall economic health, the travel and tourism industry is one of the top employers for more than half of the U.S. states and territories.

The U.S. travel and tourism industry is on pace for a record-setting year. Through November 2011, international visitors spent an estimated $139.4 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services year to date, an increase of 13 percent compared to the same period in 2010. The United States recorded a $38.4 billion trade surplus for travel and tourism through November 2011.

There is no denying that the health of the travel and tourism industry impacts millions of Americans nation-wide and the council of these 32 advisors will play a significant role in ensuring that Brazilian, Chinese, and Indian travelers come see America!


U.S. Department of Commerce Releases New Travel Forecast

May 25, 2011

Mark Brown is an economist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.  He serves as the program manager for the Travel Forecast program.

Continued Strong Growth Expected in International Travel to the United States 2011-2016

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) projects international travel to the United States will continue experiencing strong growth through 2016.

Visitor volume is expected to increase 7 percent in 2011 and reach 64 million visitors who stay one or more nights in the United States.  This growth would build on the 9 percent increase in arrivals in 2010, which resulted in a record 59.7 million visitors.

According to the current forecast, the United States would see 6 percent to 8 percent annual growth rates in visitor volume over the 2012-2016 time frame.  By 2016 this growth would produce 89 million visitors, a 49 percent increase and an additional 29 million visitors compared to 2010.

Countries with the largest forecasted total growth percentages by 2016 are China (+232%), South Korea (+200%), Brazil (+150%), Russian Federation (+139%), and India (+94%).

The U.S. travel forecast was prepared by staff in the Department of Commerce/Office of Travel & Tourism Industries using economic / demographic / social factors, Commerce historical visitation trends, input from the DOC Commercial Service staff abroad, and other sources.

For more information on the OTTI Travel Forecast, including data tables for the world regions, data tables for the top 40 visitor origin countries, and justification for each country forecast, including positive and negative factors that might influence travel from each country to the United States, please visit:

Travel and tourism is the largest services export industry for the United States and has produced a trade surplus since 1989.  For official information on international travel to the United States, please visit:


The Corporation for Travel Promotion Has a CEO

May 17, 2011

Brian Beall is an International Trade Specialist working travel and tourism issues within the International Trade Administration.

The Travel Promotion Act, or TPA, has the potential to create new opportunities for U.S. travel and tourism exports and plays a critical role in supporting President Obama’s National Export Initiative and stimulating the U.S. economy.  The Department of Commerce is excited about today’s announcement by the Corporation for Travel Promotion’s (CTP) Board of Directors that travel and tourism industry veteran Jim Evans will lead the newly created CTP as its first CEO.

This is an exciting time for the United States to engage in the global marketplace and proactively compete for international visitors.  After all, more international visitors to the United States means more people eating in our restaurants, staying in our hotels, shopping in our malls, visiting our attractions, and learning about our values and culture.

Since the TPA was signed into law on March 10, 2010, the Department of Commerce, through the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Office of Travel Promotion and Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, has played a critical role in communicating progress on the TPA’s implementation to the travel and tourism industry.  The TPA established the CTP, a non-profit corporation created by Congress for the purpose of promoting international leisure, business, and scholarly travel to the United States and maximizing the economic and social benefits of that travel for communities across the country.

The CTP’s Board is appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, and the Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel Promotion, located in ITA, serves as the liaison office to the Board.  In September 2010, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke appointed the 11 members of the Board, following consultation with the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security.

For more information about the CTP, please visit:


Travel and Tourism – partnering with industry to support millions of American jobs

May 17, 2011

Mike Masserman is the director of the Office of Advisory Committees and oversees the President’s Export Council, the Manufacturing Council and 18 other advisory committees.

Coming off the heels of National Travel & Tourism Week , key members of the Obama Administration, including President Obama’s Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, head to Las Vegas this week to underscore the importance of travel and tourism to the American economy at the Global Travel & Tourism Summit .  From hotels, airlines and tour operators to restaurants, national parks and historic sites, this critical industry employs nearly 8 million people in our country and has played an essential role in our economic recovery.

 The U.S. attracts 11.2% of world traveler spending, well ahead of destinations like Spain and France, and welcomed 60 million international visitors in 2010 alone – visitors who spent $134.4 billion dollars.  A lot of people don’t know that international travel and tourism is considered an export – but it is, and with export numbers like that, the industry is a prime contributor to achieving the President’s goal of doubling U.S. exports in the next five years.   So when folks talk about the National Export Initiative and World Trade Month , travel & tourism should be at the top of the agenda.  That’s why we‘re holding our next Travel and Tourism Advisory Board meeting in San Francisco next week to coincide with the Discover America International Pow Wow .

At next week’s meeting, Under Secretary Sánchez will be releasing the upcoming travel forecast and will highlight the Administration’s work on the Board’s recommendations to facilitate international travel to the United States.  The Board will also be presenting recommendations on a number of new policy issues including crisis management and coordination and airport security. 

We look forward to meeting with travel & tourism CEOs from across the country and working with them to help create jobs for the American people.


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.


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