Data released Wednesday by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) further validate the travel industry's essential role in revitalizing the U.S. economic recovery.
While the U.S. trade balance declined $3.0 billion in April to a deficit of $47.2 billion, the travel industry continues to buck the trend, with its exports rising 6.1 percent from April 2013.
So far this year, travel exports have grown more than twice as fast as other U.S. exports and have accounted for 22 percent of U.S. export growth this year.
Travel imports fell slightly to $11.9 billion (down 5.7 percent from April 2013), yielding a positive travel trade balance of $6.7 billion.
Today's report is the first for which the Commerce Department included an expanded definition of travel in its international accounts. The Commerce Department's new definition now includes education- and health-related travel, and seasonal or short-term work travel, which were previously not included in the overall travel figures.
"This redefinition harmonizes the Commerce Department's measurement of travel exports with international norms," said David Huether, U.S. Travel's senior vice president for research and economics. "As a result of this change, U.S. travel exports now make up nearly 10 percent of all U.S. exports of goods and services.
"Travel is an increasingly important engine of economic growth for our country. To build on this success, it is essential for Congress to pass pending legislation such as the JOLT Act and Brand USA reauthorization to make it easier for international visitors to come to the U.S."
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.1 trillion in economic output and supports 14.9 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.