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Washington, DC: At a meeting of the Commerce Department’s Travel and Tourism Advisory Board today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a 47 percent surge in the travel and tourism trade surplus in 2010; the surplus now exceeds $28 billion. The United States welcomed more than 55 million international visitors during the first 11 months of 2010, 11.4 million more visitors than the year before. While international visitation increased 10 percent, international visitor spending increased 11 percent to $122.7 billion. The travel and tourism industry employs nearly 8 million people across the United States.
During the meeting, Locke discussed the progress made on the President’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double exports by 2015 in support of several million U.S. jobs. Through November 2010, total U.S. exports were up 17 percent, and travel and tourism is on track to contribute to significant export growth.
“Travel and tourism continues to be one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy,” said Locke. “With a $28.3 billion trade surplus in the first 11 months of 2010, this industry has a huge role to play in helping our country answer President Obama’s call to double our exports by 2015 and win the future.”
The Board consists of 30 industry leaders from the travel and tourism industry who are appointed to advise Secretary Locke on matters relating to the industry and provide policy recommendations. The Board was re-chartered in September 2009, and the current term will expire on September 3, 2011.
Members of the Travel Facilitation Working Group presented a letter to Secretary Locke with 10 recommendations that address key visa and customer service issues, with the goal to increase the number of overseas international visitors to the U.S. to meet the current forecast of 36.7 million visitors by 2015, supporting job creation.