Business travel to U.S. from overseas spikes

Suits and ties are no longer in short supply on visits to the United States from overseas. The latest data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows 11 percent growth year over year for the first six months of 2010 … for total travel. Business travel led the way, with a 19 percent year-over-year gain for the same period. Leisure travel was up 9 percent.

Of course, this follows the staggering losses of 2009, in which business travel to the United States from overseas plunged 40 percent year over year, thanks in large part to the effects of the global financial crisis and the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. So, this year’s double-digit gains aren’t nearly enough to recover for the business activity that has been lost.

We’re headed in the right direction with business travel exports, but we still have a long way to go. The Department of Commerce notes in a statement, “[T]he double digit gains in business travel that most of the top overseas countries registered in the first half of 2010 are a welcome change.”

For the top 20 countries in travel to the United States, all posted gains for business-related travel, but only six showed leisure travel growth.

The suits are back, and they’re probably bringing some cash with them!