International visitors to the United States spent nearly $19.7 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities in the country, up 23% compared to January 2023 and the highest level of monthly spending since December 2019, according to the latest figures from the National Travel and Tourism Office.

The increase shows more travelers are coming to the U.S. from abroad and spending more freely—a positive sign for the travel sector and the broader economy. The spending total is just $1.1 billion shy of the monthly record of $20.8 billion spent by international travelers set in March 2018.

International travelers spent nearly $213.1 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services in 2023—an increase of just under 29% compared with 2022. That’s roughly $584 million spent each day of last year.

Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the U.S. totaled $11.4 billion during January 2024, up from $8.8 billion in January 2023. Goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the destination and other incidental items. This figure doesn’t include the cost to travel to the U.S.

Figures on international travel to Houston will be available this spring and are expected to show a continuation of growth among Mexican travelers to the region as well as more travelers from key parts of Europe, Latin America and Asia. In 2022, 2.4 million international travelers spent time in Houston, a 67% year-over-year increase from 2021 when the pandemic was still limiting travel. Roughly 1.6 million of the 2022 total were travelers from Mexico specifically, up 51% year-over-year.

Written by A.J. Mistretta 

Photo: Bush Intercontinental Airport 

International Tourism