Internet Travel Monitor - Travel Industry News

May 2, 2018

U.S. Travel Answer Sheet
Leisure Travel | Business Travel | International Travel

Direct spending by resident and international travelers in the U.S. averaged $2.8 billion a day, $118.2 million an hour, $2.0 million a minute and $32,800 a second.

Travel Answer Sheet

Leisure Travel

  • Direct spending on leisure travel by domestic and international travelers totaled $718.4 billion in 2017.
  • Spending on leisure travel generated $112.3 billion in tax revenue.
  • Nearly 3 out of 4 domestic trips taken are for leisure purposes (74%).
  • U.S. residents logged 1.8 billion person‑trips* for leisure purposes in 2017.
  • Top leisure travel activities for U.S. domestic travelers: (1) visiting relatives; (2) shopping; (3) visiting friends; (4) fine dining; and (5) rural sightseeing.

*Person-trip defined as one person on a trip away from home overnight in paid accommodations or on a day or overnight trip to places 50 miles or more [one-way] away from home

Business Travel

  • Direct spending on business travel by domestic and international travelers, including expenditures on meetings, events and incentive programs (ME&I), totaled $317.2 billion in 2017.
  • ME&I travel accounted for $131.8 billion of all business travel spending.
  • U.S. residents logged 463.9 million person‑trips* for business purposes in 2017, with 38% for meetings and events.

*Person-trip defined as one person on a trip away from home overnight in paid accommodations or on a day or overnight trip to places 50 miles or more [one-way] away from home

International Travel

2016 data**

  • In 2016, U.S. Travel Exports (includes general travel spending, international passenger fares, as well as international traveler spending on medical, educational and crossborder/seasonal work-related activities) totaled $245 billion. International Travel Imports totaled $161 billion, creating a $84 billion travel trade surplus.
  • International arrivals to the U.S. declined by 2.1 percent and totaled 75.9 million in 2016. Of those, approximately 37.6 million came from overseas markets and 38.3 million were from Canada and Mexico.
  • The United States’ share of total international arrivals is 6.1% (down from 7.5% in 2000).
  • International travel spending directly supported about 1.2 million U.S. jobs and $32.4 billion in wages.
  • Each overseas traveler spends approximately $4,360 when they visit the U.S. and stay on average 18 nights.
  • Overseas arrivals represent 50% of all international arrivals, yet account for 85.3% of total international travel spending.
  • Top leisure travel activities for overseas visitors: (1) shopping; (2) sightseeing; (3) fine dining; (4) national parks/monuments; and (5) amusement/theme parks.

**The latest international visitation data available as of April 2018 was for 2016. Data for 2017 will be updated when available.


$1.036 billion
Total domestic and international inbound traveler spending in the U.S. which generated a total of $2.4 trillion in economic output

15.6 million
Jobs supported by travel expenditures (includes 8.8 million directly in the travel industry and 6.8 million in other industries)

$258.8 billion
Wages shared by American workers directly employed by travel

$164.8 billion
Tax revenue generated by travel spending for federal, state and local governments

Percentage of nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) attributed to travel and tourism

1 out of 9
U.S. jobs that depend on travel and tourism

No. 7
Where travel ranks in terms of employment compared to other major private industry sectors

2.3 billion
Number of person-trips* that Americans took for business and leisure purposes

Percentage of travel companies that are considered small businesses (2015)

75.9 million
Estimated number of international arrivals in the U.S. in 2016, including 37.6 million from overseas markets

Top 10
Travel is among the top 10 industries in 49 states and D.C. in terms of employment

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