According to a new study from the U.S. Travel Association, international travel and tourism are part of the “export” category (the consumption of U.S. goods and services using foreign currency) and it overshadows most other U.S. industries.
U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow states that travel is a positive contributor to domestic GDP.
“Travel’s potency as a job creator, tax revenue generator, and positive contributor to domestic GDP are all well-documented and well-known. We frequently have to remind people that travel is also a top performer for the U.S. trade balance, which is always a top economic priority for political leaders. When they grasp that, it’s easier to talk to them about the policies travel needs to grow and perform even better—like improvements to the Customs entry process, expansion of the Visa Waiver Program, and urgent attention to our surface and air travel infrastructure.”
Perhaps the most important result is that travel is the second-largest U.S. export by industry ($214.8 billion in 2013), second to transportation equipment ($240.4 billion), and is leaving behind sectors such as financial services ($84.1 billion) and agriculture ($66.2 billion).
Dow also says that it cannot be outsourced.
“The single greatest point to remember about travel is that it creates jobs that cannot be outsourced abroad. A concierge or tour guide or sales executive or general manager cannot possibly perform their job from a phone bank in Bangladesh. When overseas visitors come here with the $4,500 they spend per trip on average, the economic benefits stay right here.”