By Hugo Martin
1:47 PM EDT, August 7, 2013
Be sure to thank the next foreign tourist you run across.
They have helped inject an estimated $87.1 billion into the U.S. economy in the first six months of 2013.
The spending estimate comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which says the outlays by international visitors represents a 7% increase from the same period in 2012.
The federal agency predicts that such spending will only increase over the next five years. The U.S. hosted 67 million foreign visitors in 2012, and the Department of Commerce predicts the number of international tourists will jump to 84.6 million by 2018.
Four countries are expected to account for 68% of the growth in visitors in the next five years: Canada (30%), China (19%), Mexico (12%) and Brazil (7%).
In the first six months of the year, foreign visitors spent $67 billion on food, lodging, recreation, entertainment and gifts, among other tourism-related goods and service, according to the federal agency. Another $20.1 billion was spent on travel costs, such as airline tickets.
In the travel sector, the U.S. recorded a favorable balance of trade in the month of June, with a surplus of more than $4.3 billion, the Department of Commerce said.
"The economic contributions of international travel and tourism continues to be a bright spot, " Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez said in a statement.
ALSO:TSA 'PreCheck' expansion expected to enroll 88,000 in six months
Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times