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Power of U.S. Travel

According to the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), tourism is one of America's largest industries:

$758 billion in direct spending by domestic and international travelers.

  • $1.8 trillion in total direct, indirect and induced travel-related output.
  • $117 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments generated by the travel and tourism industry.
  • Each U.S. household would pay $1,000 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by the travel and tourism industry.
  • Direct spending by resident and international travelers in the U.S. averaged $2 billion a day, $86 million an hour, $1.4 million a minute and $24,000 a second.

Tourism is one of America's largest services exports:

  • $134.4* billion in travel exports and …
  • $102.7** billion in travel imports create …
  • $31.7 billion in balance of travel trade surplus for the United States.

Tourism is one of America's largest employers:

Travel is among the top 10 industries in 48 states and the District of Columbia in terms of employment.

  • 7.4 million direct travel-generated jobs.
  • $188.4 million direct travel-generated jobs.
  • 14.1 million American workers are directly and indirectly employed by travel.
  • 1 of every 9 U.S. non-farm jobs is created directly or indirectly or is induced by travel and tourism.

* Includes traveler spending in the U.S. and international passenger fare payments to U.S. carriers.

** Includes U.S. residents' spending abroad and international passenger fares paid to foreign carriers.

For more information about the U.S. Travel Association, go to http://ustravel.org.

State of the Travel Industry 2016 from U.S. Travel on Vimeo.

The economic impact of travel and tourism is broad. As business and leisure travelers plan their trips to different destinations around the U.S., they spend money that filters into dozens of businesses affiliated with the tourism industry. Whether traveling by plane, train, ship or automobile – travelers invest in industries that employ hundreds of thousands of personnel. The airline, automotive, rent-a-car and leisure transportation industries realize a direct benefit from travel – as well as supporting industries like oil and gas that provide the fuel for the vehicles, and companies that specialize in the manufacture or maintenance of airplanes, automobiles, and other transportation options.

Once travelers arrive at their destination, they spend money on lodging, restaurants and entertainment – funneling millions of dollars into the local economy by supporting local businesses and paying taxes that relieve the tax burden for local residents. These tax revenues are re-invested in local schools and infrastructure, benefitting residents.

In addition to the jobs supported at the hotels and restaurants by visitors (hourly and salaried positions), leisure and business travelers also impact affiliated industries like local farms and service companies that provide produce and services to the restaurant and hotel industry. The power of travel can be seen throughout the local economy in hotels, restaurants, bars, farms and service companies across the country.

The Tourism Iceberg

The Tourism Iceberg illustrates the depth of the impact that tourism has on local economies. The tip of the iceberg represents the obvious economic benefits of tourism: employment, revenue generation and tax relief.


The benefits of tourism found below the surface, demonstrate the long-term value of business and leisure travel. The revenues generated by tourism drive infrastructure investment, enhances real estate values, attracts new businesses to the area, encourages historic preservation and new development. All of these issues create a more desirable destination that enhances the quality of life for residents and builds pride in a community.