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Travel industry bright spot in troubling April 2011 Trade Deficit Report

Travel industry bright spot in troubling April 2011 Trade Deficit Report

David Huether, senior vice president of economics and research at the U.S. Travel Association, provides analysis on today’s Commerce Department report on U.S. international trade in goods and services.

“Today’s Commerce Department report reveals a troubling trend – while the U.S. overall trade balance improved by more than $3 billion to a level of $43.7 billion to start off the second quarter in April, much of the increase in goods exports was due to higher energy prices. Excluding fuel oil and petroleum products, other goods exports were largely stagnant. However, travel exports were a bright spot, demonstrating particular strength in balancing our trade deficit.

“Compared to April of last year, travel and passenger fare exports were up a solid 18.6 percent in April, surpassing the fastest 12-month change of 18.4 percent achieved last year in June.

“Accounting for two thirds of overall service export growth in April, the upturn in travel topped increases in other major export industries such as pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles and drilling and oil field equipment.

“With the domestic economy facing building headwinds, policymakers must make the U.S. a more competitive exporter. The U.S. Travel Association has developed a common-sense plan aimed at improving the competitiveness of U.S. travel exports by making it easier for international travelers to visit the United States – a plan that would create more than a million jobs in the U.S.”