People still coming to U.S., spending money

Over the first nine months of the year, 39 million people visited the United States from abroad, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. In September alone, we had 4.1 million guests. International is still up 8 percent from the first nine months of 2007, but September visits were flat year-over-year. This probably means that the rising dollar is slamming tourists from Europe, making them less interested in us.

Apparently, they only like us when their money is worth more.

It’s cool, as long as they spend like sailors on shore leave, which they did. Through September, visitors to the United States from foreign countries dropped almost $110 billion – up a mind-blowing 22 percent from 2007. Seriously! Financial crisis be damned! Europeans have money, and they know how to put it to work!

More Canadians, so far, have come this year (+12 percent), and more of them took planes. Fewer Mexicans visited the United States, as well, but Western Europe more than compensated. The number of tourists posing in Times Square while listening to David Hasselhoff on their iPods was up 17 percent. Almost half of all visitors from abroad were from Western Europe. Most of them were Germans (+20 percent), French (+28 percent), and Italians (+29 percent). There were 28 percent more Russian tourists, too.

Are you a stats geek? Get the rest of the story straight from the Department of Commerce.