Foreign Travelers Returning to the U.S.

After a downturn in 2009 -- the first in six years -- expect steady growth for the next several years.

The beleaguered travel industry is showing signs of life: Foreign visitors are returning to the U.S. This year will see an upswing of 5% over 2009 as 58.2 million visit the U.S. The rebound almost offsets the 5% falloff in arrivals last year -- the first decline since 2003. Foreign visits are expected to increase another 5% in each of the next three years. Because international visitors outspend American tourists by about 4 to 1, the rebound is especially welcome to hotels, restaurants and other travel related sectors.

Leading the tourist brigades are South Americans and Asians. Trips by South Americans will be up 11% this year versus last. Brazilians and Argentines, in particular, seem keen on visiting the States. Asian visitors will increase by 9%, with China, South Korea and India leading the way. The number of Japanese visitors was down 10% last year from 2008, but will climb by 5% this year and another 5% in 2011.

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Martha Lynn Craver
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter