Foreigners spend $9.5bn on travel to and in the U.S., down 22%

It’s not exactly a surprise: foreign spending on U.S.-related travel is down sharply year-over-year. In May this year, foreigners dropped $9.5 billion on travel to the United States and tourism within the country. This is down 22 percent from May 2008. according to the Department of Commerce. A global recession triggered by last year’s financial crisis (duh) has made travel relatively more expensive, despite the fact that it’s generally cheaper. After all, a trans-Atlantic flight for $10 is worthless if you only have $1.

People traveling to the United States spent $2.1 billion last May, a decline of more than 22 percent. Other travel and tourism goods and services accounted for $7.5 billion – off 23 percent year-over-year. This is the seventh month in a row in which travel spending to and within the United States fell, and the trend has accelerated since November 2008. Single-digit declines ended in February 2009, and a 15 percent drop in April preceded May’s total 22 percent decline.

So, if you aren’t hearing as many fun accents at your local restaurant, this is the reason why. Travel discounts, sometimes, aren’t enough to offset financial calamity … a fact that industry has come to know all too well.