Nils Kraus - Sep 9, 2013
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USA is without doubt one of the richest countries in the world with respect to natural beauty as well as cultural heritage. Every year, millions of tourists come to explore the U.S. cities, local wilderness or enjoy some of the hundreds other options that local destinations offer. presents the top ten source countries that bring the greatest revenue to USA from tourism.

Tourism industry represents 2.8% of the U.S. GDP. It also provides job for 7.8 million people. In 2012 the country welcomed 67 million international visitors who spent $165.6 billion. Canadians were the most numerous group recording 22.7 million arrivals. Which tourists however spent the most on American soil in 2012?

No. 10: India

($4.9 Billion Spent)

While the Indian market beat Italy to position 10 in 2012 by $1 billion, India has fallen in the rankings from the 7th position in 2008 to the current 10th place. Does the fall in the rankings indicate a decline in spending by visitors from India? Not at all! It only indicates the changes in the spending volumes by visitors from different countries. In fact, India has had double-digit spending in the USA for 7 out of the 10 last years and set a new best spending record of $4.9 billion in 2012, a 10% increase from the 2011’s spending. Currently, tourism and travel exports from the USA to India are 40% of all exported services.

No. 9: France

($5.3 Billion Spent, 1.46 Million Arrivals)

While France was ousted from position 8 by Australia due to the total amount spent ($5.3 vs. $5.4), the country remains a strong and growing market for tourism and travel exports from the U.S. Both 2011 and 2012 have been record-breaking spending years by visitors from France, with 2012’s $5.3 billion spending going higher than 2011 by 7%. Tourism and travel contributes 28% of all services exported from the U.S. to France, but the figure could go higher in the coming years.

No. 8: Australia

($5.4 Billion Spent, 1.12 Million Arrivals)

The phenomenal growth of the Australian market for tourism and travel goods from the USA has been unprecedented in the last 10 years, with 8 of the 10 years seeing record-breaking spending by Australian visitors to the U.S. In 2012, the visitors spent $5.4 billion, which was a 10% increase from 2011’s spending, and a new spending record. Tourism and travel services enjoy a massive 31% of all services exported from the U.S. to Australia.

No. 7: Germany

($6.9 Billion Spent, 1.88 Million Arrivals)

International visitors from Germany to the USA set a new spending record of $6.9 billion and spent an extra 10% in 2012 compared to 2011. Germany retained a position it was pushed to by China in 2011, but is still a fundamental tourism export market for the U.S. Currently, tourism exports are 26% of the entire services exports package from the USA to Germany.

No. 6: China

($8.8 Billion Spent, 1.47 Million Arrivals)

China never meant much to the U.S. tourism sector by 2008. However, the last three years have seen China emerge as a critical market, with tourism exports from the USA growing by 47%, 47% and 14% in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively. The 2012’s $8.8 billion spending was phenomenal. While tourism and travel exports to China is currently 29% of all service exports by the U.S., the significance of China as a tourism source market cannot be doubted.

No. 5: Brazil

($9.3 Billion Spent, 1.79 Million Arrivals)

Brazil has been a major tourism and travel export market for the U.S. in recent times. While many markets were adversely affected by the 2009’s economic slowdown, visitors from Brazil to the USA still spent hugely, smashing the 2008’s spending figure. For nine years in a row, international visitors from Brazil have made double-digit spending in the USA, breaking record after record. The $9.3 billion spent in 2012 is just the fifth consecutive record-breaking year and a firmer establishment of Brazil as a prime market for travel and tourism services from the U.S. Presently, 39% of service exports from the USA to Brazil is purely contributed by tourism and travel exports.

No. 4: Mexico

($10.0 Billion Spent, 14.51 Million Arrivals)

The 2012 spending in the U.S. by the visitors from Mexico was an all-time high of $10.0 billion. While the gains from tourism and travel exports had declined hugely with the global economic slowdown, hitting 17% in 2009, the subsequent years saw a strong tendency to recover, with gains of 8%, 6% and 8% in the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively. Presently, travel and tourism services make up 36% of all services exports by the U.S. to Mexico.

No. 3: United Kingdom

($12.6 Billion Spent, 3.76 Million Arrivals)

The global economic recession caused a huge decline in the number of visitors from the United Kingdom to the USA. By 2009, the tourism and travel exports had dropped to around 32%. While the recovery path has been slower over subsequent years, the 2012’s figure of $12.6 billion is only $4.1 billion less than the 2008’s total spending by visitors from the U.K. Today, there is an evident rise and massive optimism that sooner the tourism sector will have regained the full benefits it originally obtained from exports to the U.K. At the moment, tourism and travel makes up 22% of the entire package of U.S. services exports to U.K.

No. 2: Japan

($16.5 Billion Spent, 3.70 Million Arrivals)

While U.S. tourism and travel-associated exports to Japan has been bedeviled in recent times by several constraints and difficulties, visitors from Japan to the USA are still the second highest spenders, having pumped $16.5 billion in the U.S. economy in 2012. This figure is lower by at least $1.3 billion when compared to the 1995’s $17.8 billion, but it shows that the USA can gain a lot from marketing its tourism sector in Japan. Some of the recent obstacles include the 2011’s nuclear emergencies, the 2009’s economic meltdown and the 2003’s SARS.

No. 1: Canada

($25.5 Billion Spent, 22.70 Million Arrivals)

Canadian visitors to the USA topped the 2012 international visitor spending list. With $25.5 billion injected into the U.S. economy, Canadian visitors excelled all others. This massive spending was, however, expected since Canadian visitors have been setting new spending records every year following the complete implementation of the 2009’s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. While 42% of all services exports from the USA to Canada is contributed to by tourism and travel, the figures are expected to rise steadily in the coming years.

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