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International tourists continue to spend big in U.S.

International tourists continue to spend big in U.S.
International travelers to the U.S. spent $3.5 billion on airfares in January, according to the federal government.
(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Spending by international travelers visiting the U.S. remains on record pace, according to new federal statistics.

International visitors spent $14.4 billion in January, an 11% increase from the same month in 2012, the U.S. Department of Commerce said Monday.

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Since the Great Recession, the travel and tourism industries have rebounded at a much faster pace than many other areas of the economy, according to government statistics.

In 2012, spending by international visitors reached a record $168.1 billion, an increase of nearly 10% compared with the previous year, according to the Department of Commerce.

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In 2012, tourism and tourism-related businesses supported 7.7 million jobs, an increase of 2.1% compared with the previous year, the Department of Commerce said.

Of the $14.4 billion spent by international travelers in January, $10.9 billion was spent on food, hotels and shopping in the U.S., with the remaining $3.5 billion spent on airfares, the federal agency said.

“Record-setting growth in the travel and tourism industry continues to contribute to the strength of our nation’s economy,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez.

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