A new report Tourism Outlook: USA from Visa Inc. indicates the tourism industry has begun to rebound during the first six months of 2010.
From 1 January to 30 June 2010 spending by international visitors to the U.S. on their Visa-branded payment cards was up 20 percent over 2009 levels. At the same time, Americans are spending at higher levels when travelling internationally: spending by U.S. travellers abroad on Visa cards was up 9.3 percent in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009.
“The United States continues to be a major source market for international tourism and a popular destination for travellers around the globe. The growth in inbound spending in early 2010, particularly from source markets such as China and Brazil, reinforces how Asia-Pacific and South America are seemingly the first to emerge and rebound from the challenging environment that defined 2008 and 2009,” said Bill Sheedy, president, North America, Visa Inc.
In 2009, spending by international visitors declined 12 percent from $32.9 billion in 2008 to $28.9 billion based on a challenging socio-economic environment.
Tourism Impact: The Gulf Region Oil Spill
While the oil spill did not result in an immediate impact in the weeks following the spill – May Visa transaction data reveals tourism spending was up over 2009 levels – tourism sharply declined in June 2010. June spending decreased 42 percent compared to May 2010, and also declined 9 percent year-over-year.
All four states along the Gulf Coast saw declines in tourism spending from May to June: Alabama (8 percent), Florida (35 percent), Louisiana (65 percent) and Mississippi (65 percent).
Lodging and oil and gas are the two merchant segments hardest hit by the crisis. Visa transaction volume in the lodging segment decreased 50 percent, while the oil and gas segment was down 42 percent. According to a recent survey by the Knowland Group survey of hotel properties, 35 percent said that the oil spill has prompted guests to cancel their future reservations and 42 percent said the spill has hurt their ability to book future events.