According to data excerpted from the latest edition of the Impact of Travel on State Economies, published by the Travel Industry Association of America
(TIA), California ranked number one overall in terms of total spending by domestic and international travelers, earning over $68 billion in expenditures.Ê Rounding out the top three were Florida ($54.5 billion) and New York ($34.4 billion).Ê These rankings are based on 2002 data—the most current year for which equally comparable data is available for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The rankings change slightly when looking at expenditures made solely by domestic or international travelers in the United States (charts 2 and 3).Ê The top three states where domestic travelers spent their money were California ($58 billion), Florida ($40.6 billion) and Texas ($31.2 billion).Ê International travelers spent the most money in Florida ($13.9 billion), followed by California ($10.2 billion) and New York ($7.5 billion).
“This is evidence of what an economic powerhouse the travel and tourism industry continues to be in the U.S., despite the challenges faced by the industry in the past few years,” remarked William S. Norman, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association of America.Ê “These data show that travel is a valuable commodity in each and every state in the nation—no matter the size of that state or whether it had millions or thousands of visitors.”
Each state also feels the impact of traveler spending through the subsequent creation of thousands of jobs.Ê The top five states in terms of travel-generated employment in 2002, again, the latest data available, were California (820,200 jobs); Florida (742,600 jobs); Texas (534,400 jobs); New York (383,300 jobs); and Nevada (336,300 jobs).
In a state where tourism is the number one industry, such as Florida, job creation can be tremendous.Ê However, tourism does not have to be a state’s largest industry for the impact to be felt.Ê In the state of Michigan, where tourism is the sixth-largest industry, more than 155,400 jobs were directly attributable to the dollars spent by domestic and international travelers.Ê Overall, the travel and tourism industry ranks as the first-, second-, or third-largest employer in 29 of the 50 states.