A bright spot in the nation's rebounding economy continues to shine.
International tourists are spending record amounts in the U.S., surpassing the pre-recession totals of 2008, according to the latest data from the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.
In October, international visitors spent $13.1 billion on travel to the U.S. and for tourism-related activities while they were there, a 13% increase over October 2010, the agency said.
Travel and tourism-related spending has increased, on average, more than $1.5 billion a month in 2011 and is on pace to break the record previously set in 2008 before the global economic slowdown.
The Office of Travel and Tourism Industries expects industry-related exports to surpass $152 billion for 2011.
Four countries are expected to account for two-thirds of the projected growth in international visitation to the U.S. over the next five years. About 31% of the growth will come from Canada, 13% from Mexico, 10% from China and 7% from Brazil, the agency said.
Meanwhile, the total spent by Americans traveling abroad reached $91.9 billion in the first 10 months of 2011, an 8% increase over the same period in 2010, the agency reported.
-- Hugo Martin
Chart: Spending by international visitors in the U.S., monthly data. Credit: U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries