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U.S. Travel Exports Up 13 Percent, Leading Export Recovery
January 16, 2012

U.S. travel exports increased 13 percent in the first 11 month's of 2011, according to the latest Commerce Department figures on international trade. Travel exports totaled $139.4 billion in 2011. “With travel imports totaling $101 billion through November, the travel trade surplus in 2011 has so far increased to $38.4 billion, which is up 33 percent from the $28.8 billion surplus through the first 11 months of 2010,” said David Huether, senior vice president of economics and research at the U.S. Travel Association.

Huether said that travel and tourism exports edged down $283 million to $12.7 billion in November. Meanwhile, imports of travel and tourism also edged down in November to $9.2 billion. The drop in November travel exports was mirrored by declines in other major export categories, such as agricultural products, industrial supplies and capital goods.

Overall, U.S. exports slipped $1.5 billion in November while imports rose by $2.9 billion, which together increased the overall trade deficit to a five-month high of $47.8 billion.

“While many associate U.S. exports with agricultural or industrial products shipped abroad, the fact is that international visitation to the U.S. is a major source of exports,” Huether said. “In fact, year-to-date 2011 travel and tourism exports surpassed agricultural exports as well as exports of civilian aircraft, semiconductors, telecommunications equipment and computers combined.”

Huether called travel the “unsung hero” of the current export recovery. However, he said that an “inefficient and taxing” U.S. visa system is hindering travel’s ability to grow because it inhibits inbound travel.

The U.S. Travel Association has been lobbying for improving the visa process to generate more travel to the U.S.

“Increasing foreign visitors to the U.S., who in 2010 generated $241 billion in economic output and supported 1.8 million American jobs that cannot be outsourced, is one of the most efficient, fast-acting and least costly job programs that the government could promote,” Huether said.

Source :- http://www.travelpulse.com/
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