Research from the World Travel & Tourism Council shows that spending by international visitors dropped nearly 1 percent year-over-year to $198.8 billion. That is largely due to a lack of growth in visitors from China, whose dollars makes up roughly 11 percent of all spending.
“Given the economic importance of Chinese visitors, any thawing in the trade relations between the two countries would have a positive effect for the wider U.S. economy,” Gloria Guevara, the council’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
Despite the spending drop, the U.S. remains the world’s largest travel and tourism economy, the report said. The sector contributes nearly $1.6 trillion to the country’s gross domestic product, or 7.8 percent of the total. The WTTC said the contribution grew 2.2 percent year-over-year, adjusted for inflation.
Globally, travel and tourism grew 3.9 percent to contribute $8.8 trillion to the world economy, a separate WTTC report said. That’s higher than global gross domestic product growth of 3.2 percent.
Data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization in January said global tourism arrivals grew 6 percent in 2018, though North America saw international arrivals increase by only 4 percent.
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