Travel has a positive impact on so many aspects of our lives: from the memories it helps us create with family and friends, to the trillions in economic output travel delivers and the millions of American jobs it supports. So, for this year’s National Travel and Tourism Week (May 5-11), we are spotlighting a different example each day of why travel matters to America. 


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Use Sunday, May 5 to celebrate how travel matters to the economy. Each year, traveler spending in the U.S. generates more than $2 trillion in economic output—boosting local communities across the country, all while helping reduce America’s overall trade deficit

Travel matters to the economy in every pocket of America

Communities large and small, both urban and rural, rely on travel for economic development, job creation and tax revenues. Without travel spending, the impact its absence would have on local economies and families would be devastating. Travel spending generated $171 billion in total tax revenue in 2018; without this revenue, each U.S. household would pay $1,340 more in taxes every year.

Travel matters to the overall economy and deficit reduction

Though many people don’t immediately think of travel as an export, it is America’s second-largest industry export. Every time an international visitor comes to the U.S. and stays in a hotel, rides a train, eats in a restaurant or makes a purchase in a store, the U.S. is “exporting” these goods and services. In 2018, Americans abroad spent $186 billion, while international visitors to the U.S. spent $256 billion—resulting in a travel trade surplus of $69 billion that helps lower our overall trade deficit. Without the surplus provided by travel, the overall U.S. trade deficit would have ballooned 11 percent from $622 billion to $691 billion. 


Travel Exports

Ways to celebrate how travel matters to your economy:

  • Write an op-ed about how travel contributes to your community. Reference U.S. Travel’s resources for statistics, below, and incorporate your own economic impact and jobs data to localize the content. Pitch it to local media or distribute through a newsletter or on your CEO’s LinkedIn page.
  • On May 5, share where your op-ed was published on your social media channels alongside photos of how a strong travel economy has transformed your destination. 

Useful tools:

National Travel and Tourism Week is our industry’s time to celebrate the innumerable ways in which travel strengthens communities and enriches lives. Interested in other ways you can celebrate why “Travel Matters” during NTTW? View the full theme calendar. Don’t forget to include #nttw19 or #TravelMatters in your posts for a chance to be featured on our social channels and included in our wrap video. Planning an event? Add it to the official NTTW event map. Visit the NTTW toolkit for more resources to get involved. 

U.S. Travel

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