International travel to the U.S. expected to continue to grow
After setting records for the number of foreign visitors and the amount of spending last year, international travel to the U.S. is expected to continue to grow over the next six years.
The Commerce Department predicted Monday that travel to the U.S. will grow at a pace of about 4% a year at least through 2018.
The agency said it expects 69.6 million foreign visitors to travel to the U.S. in 2013, up from the record 67 million visitors in 2012.
By 2018, the Commerce Department predicts that the U.S. will welcome 84.6 million visitors, a 26% increase and 17.6 million more visitors compared to 2012.
The fastest growing source of foreign visitors in the next six years is expected to be China, with a 229% growth by 2018, the federal agency said.
The surge in foreign visitors from China is good news for the U.S. tourism and travel industries because Chinese travelers now spend an average of about $7,100 per visit to the U.S. The average overseas visitor, in contrast, spends about $3,239 per visit, according to the Commerce Department.
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