The travel market recovery in five simple stats

Is it time to celebrate yet? International visitation to the United States is one month shy of posting a year’s worth of monthly gains. More people are coming, and they’re opening their wallets. A travel recovery is in the works, and it’s being fueled with foreign cash – a net benefit for U.S. travel industry workers.

How can you tell we’re on the upswing? Well, take a look at the five facts below, thanks to the U.S. Department of Commerce:

1. Travel is up: visits to the United States from abroad are up 12 percent from the first eight months of 2009 to the first eight months of this year, marking the eleventh consecutive month of year-over-year increases. So far this year, 40.2 million international visitors have come to the United States.2. August was hot: forget about how red the thermometer got. Instead, wrap your head around the fact that 6.4 million people visited the United States that month, a gain of 11 percent from August 2009.

3. They are spending: early in the recovery, visits were growing, but spending wasn’t. This is changing. Over the first eight months of this year, visitors from outside the United States dropped $88.2 billion here, up 10 percent from the same period in 2009. In August alone, the eighth month in a row in which spending grew, they spent $11.5 billion, an increase of 15 percent from August 2009.

4. They’re coming from everywhere: 17 of the top 20 countries registered increases from the first eight months of 2009 to the first eight months of 2010, with only the United Kingdom, Ireland and Venezuela posting declines. And, there’s momentum: for the month of August, 18 of the top 20 countries posted year-over-year gains.

5. And to everywhere: the concentration of visits coming to the top three and top 15 ports of entry has fallen slightly, indicating a slight increase in variety. Still, 38 percent of visitors came through the top three ports of entry in the country – i.e., New York JFK, Miami and Los Angeles – with the top 15 accounting for 82 percent of visits.

[photo by borman818 via Flickr]