Visitor spending in U.S. drops for 15th consecutive month

International visitor spending is still heading in the wrong direction. In January, travelers coming to the United States from abroad spent only $10.3 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, a decline of 3 percent from January 2009. In hard cash, that’s a drop of $310 million.

Travel receipts amounted to $8.1 billion in January – that’s money spent on travel and tourism-related goods and represents a fall of 1 percent from January 2009. This includes food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment and local transportation within the United States. Passenger fare receipts, the money spent on U.S. carriers and vessel operators, from international visitors fell 10 percent to $2.3 billion, with $300 million in spending disappearing from the same month last year.

January 2010 was the fifteenth month in a row in which spending on U.S. travel and tourism exports fell (when compared to the same month the prior year). Before the financial crisis took hold at the end of 2008, growth had increased for more than 60 consecutive months. Fortunately, the declines appear to be slowing. In December 2009, travel exports were off 8 percent.