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In 2003, with the exception of the Global Financial Crisis of 2009, the United States began enjoying strong and steady growth in both inbound international visitation and spending. In the last decade, the number of inbound travelers has nearly doubled from roughly four million to seven million, while spending has increased by 50% in the same time period, up to $251.4 billion. International travelers vacation for significantly longer periods of time. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, travel and tourism accounted for 8.1% of America’s total GDP at $1,509.2 billion, with the industry directly and indirectly supporting over 14 million jobs. However, after years of double-digit growth, the growth in annual spending is decelerating, from 14% in 2008, to 7% in 2012, and to 2% in 2017, while annual visitation to the U.S. began to decline in 2015 – and has yet to stop. According to


Bloomberg, America is one of two out of the top dozen global destinations to see a decline in international visitors in the last three years, while at the same time our market share has dropped in nine of our ten top source markets. Te number of trips made by globetrotters in 2017 grew 7% last year, while trips to America declined by 4%; and that 4% means big money -$2.7 billion in reduced spending, according to Tourism Economics. Foreign tourists generally spend four times as much as domestic tourists, according to the U.S. Travel Association, directly supporting 1.2 million American jobs and nearly $32.4 billion in wages. Looking north in 2017, Canada welcomed 4% more inbound visitors, while to the south Mexico’s visitation increased by 12%, “driven by increasing demand from the United States,” said the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).


Change in Visitation to Each Country from 2015 to 2017


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