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Spending by international visitors to the U.S. hits record in May

July 25, 2011 |  2:06 pm

International visitors spent a record $12.6 billion traveling to and visiting the United States during May, 12% higher than in May 2010, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Monday.

The latest spending numbers mark the seventeenth straight month of growth in U.S. travel and tourism by foreign visitors, the agency said.

Travel and tourism-related spending by international visitors has increased, on average, nearly $1.4 billion a month in 2011 compared with the same months a year earlier.

For the first five months of the year, international visitors spent about $61 billion traveling to and visiting the U.S., while U.S. travelers have spent nearly $44.5 billion traveling abroad, resulting in a $16.5-billion trade surplus, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

-- Hugo Martin

Chart: Travel and tourism spending by international visitors over the past nine years. Source: U.S. Department of Commerce.