International travelers have a lot of countries to visit. So, where does the United States rank? Interestingly, the United States leads in tourism spending. 

This builds on last week’s post: American Vacation Time Compared to Elsewhere.


United States Leads in Tourism Spending

While the U.S. leads in tourism spending, while both France and Spain attract more international visitors. But, wow, does the U.S. dominate tourist shopping.

According to Niall McCarthy, writing for Statista:

“Last year represented a good time for global tourism. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) published its 2018 report on international tourism trends. In fact, it found that 2017 experienced the highest growth in international tourist arrivals since 2010. That resulted from a combination of factors, such as these. Strong economic conditions. Higher demand in emerging markets. And the recovery of destinations suffering from security challenges. The total number of tourist arrivals last year was 1.32 billion. Up 7 percent on 2016. While tourism receipts went up 5 percent to $1.34 trillion.”

“In 2017, France was the world’s most-visited country with 86.9 million arrivals. Ahead of Spain’s 81.8 million and the USA’s 75.9 million. U.S. arrivals fell 3.8 percent. Despite the decline, however, spending still increased 1.9 percent to reach $210.7 billion, drastically higher than France and Spain combined.”

Indeed, tourism spending in the U.S. exceeded that of the next three countries combined. Look at the Statista infographic below.

United States Leads in Tourism Spending

17 Replies to “United States Leads in Tourism Spending”

  1. United States having the highest amount of money spent when tourist visiting it is not surprising because there are so many different cultures and places to visit in the United States. France and Spain seem like they are culturally diverse as well. Strong economic conditions in the United States, France, and Spain can play a key role in attracting tourism because it shows they have great opportunities to attract others as well as retain the natives.

  2. It is interesting to me that the Unites States managed to pull in the most amount of money despite having a fewer number of tourists compared to Spain and France. However, it is not too shocking or surprising overall because of the amount of things the U.S. has to offer such as places to visit, activities to be involved in, and celebrities or other types of people/ groups to see across the nation. Another factor that definitely has an impact, as stated above, is strong or favorable economic conditions which can attract people from all across the globe. As long as the nation continues to grow and flourish, I believe these tourist and spending numbers will as well.

  3. I am not very surprised to see that the U.S. leads in tourism, since we have one of the biggest countries along with a very diverse terrain for tourists to explore. The U.S. has many landmarks for every type of person to enjoy, whether it be a family or just the solo explorer. I am interested to see if our tourism rate makes a giant decline within the next few years since obtaining any kind of visa has gotten harder for all foreigners in general. Tourists will definitely continue to visit America as long as Hollywood and the Big Apple still retain its marketable value and influence over other countries.

  4. Seeing the United States has the most money spent by tourists doesn’t surprise me. What surprises me is how much more money tourists spend in the United States compared to the second and third most tourist spending countries. The amount tourists spend in the United States is more than triple what they spend when they visit Spain, and these numbers are in the billions. The United States has thousands of tourist attractions and I know if I was a tourist visiting the United States that I would bring a lot of cash with me.

  5. I’m not surprised the that U.S. would rank in first on this. I am particularly interested in this on the Marketing aspect. Tracking popular seasons for tourism and tailoring marketing in basically any industry to meet different customer interests can go a long way. I am curious to learn more about what tourists are spending the money on specifically, and how it is such a drastic amount more than the second and third countries. Consumers who are tourists may be be more willing to spend money and try new brands when they are traveling.

  6. I am not surprised that the US is ranked first on this list. People from all over the world come to the United States to go sight seeing and try different kinds of foods. This is very important for marketing in businesses to meet the customer interests so they can keep a steady business.

  7. I am a little surprised that the United States spends the most on tourism. Looking back on the article that discussed the United States having one of the smallest vacation time rates, I would have guessed that a European country would have surpassed us. Thinking about both of the articles maybe the United States spends more sue to the limitations on vacation time. Since a person may only have a certain time off, they may have to stretch funds a little further then they’d like to fit into that time. Also, since many Americans are only able to take a short amount of time off they tend to spend more because they have the mindset, “whatever I’m on vacation”.

  8. It is no surprise that the US is the #1 highest spending for tourists. However, it is surprising that the total inbound expenditure and total arrivals for the US is double of Spain that is #2 on the list. This surprised me because I didn’t imagine such a big difference.

  9. I think the United States has a lot to offer and is so large and diverse that it is not surprising how much money people from other countries spend on tourism here and how much the United States spends on tourism. Even those living within the United States spend much time traveling to other states because it is very diverse and there are many globally known landmarks and sites to see. Although, i am surprised to see what a big gap there is between Spain and the United States and how much they each spend on tourism.

  10. Prior to reading this post, I was not sure exactly how much the U.S. earns on tourism, but after reading this I was quite surprised by the amount. I think the reason why the U.S. was able to generate so much money from tourism was due to the country’s appeal to foreigners. The U.S. is painted to be this free and fun country to other nations and for that reason many tourists come to the United States. However, I thought that it was interesting that in terms of revenue for tourism the U.S. exceeded other countries that received more visitors than the United States.

  11. I am hardly shocked about the large amount of tourists that the US has proven to attract; there are just so many large, unique cities to visit within the nation. I am shocked, however, to learn that, although the US did not attract the most visitors, it has managed to reel in the most money. Now that I have had time to process this fact a bit more, it makes sense since the US capitalizes on tourists through its many souvenir shops and revenue-generating sightseeing.

  12. While I am not surprised that the United States is where tourists spend the most money, I am shocked with the amount we lead by. The United States has a higher amount than the second and third ranked countries combined. It makes me wonder what tourists are spending so much money on that the number would be so much higher. Could it be longer stays, more shopping, or visiting more attractions?- even then it is crazy how much people spend here.

  13. I am not surprised that the United States leads in tourism spending. However, I am very surprised that we have less tourist then Spain and France but have more than double the amount of money spent. The United States is very big and has so many different cities to visit, and places to spend your money

  14. The USA is the size of multiple normal countries, and doesn’t jail or kill tourists who dissent against the government, so it is significantly more appealing to visit than most other countries of a similar size or development.

  15. To me it is only surprising that the U.S. has less tourists per year than France and Spain, but not surprising that the U.S. leads in tourist spending. The U.S. has many different big cities to visit where goods tend to be more expensive such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami. The U.S. is also the leader in media around the world as most movies and music is created here so it is a big draw to people who live in other countries.

  16. This article was very interesting to me because I also have written a blog post on tourism to America in the last few years. What I did not realize in my research was how much America was still making due to tourism spending despite a drop in U.S. tourists since 2016. The infographic you showed did an excellent job portraying the data in an easy to read way!

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