Visa Data Shows 20 Percent Increase in Inbound Tourism Spending During First Half of 2010

August 31, 2010 at 8:02 AM EDT
Gulf Coast Tourism Declines Sharply from May to June Following Oil Spill


A new report Tourism Outlook: USA from Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) indicates the tourism industry has begun to rebound during the first six months of 2010. From Jan. 1 - June 30, 2010, spending by international visitors to the U.S. on their Visa-branded payment cards was up 20 percent over 2009 levels. At the same time, Americans are spending at higher levels when traveling internationally: spending by U.S. travelers abroad on Visa cards was up 9.3 percent in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009.


"The United States continues to be a major source market for international tourism and a popular destination for travelers around the globe. The growth in inbound spending in early 2010, particularly from source markets such as China and Brazil, reinforces how Asia-Pacific and South America are seemingly the first to emerge and rebound from the challenging environment that defined 2008 and 2009," said Bill Sheedy, president, North America, Visa Inc.

In 2009, spending by international visitors declined 12 percent from $32.9 billion in 2008 to $28.9 billion based on a challenging socio-economic environment. Top source countries for inbound tourism to the U.S. during calendar year 2009 and the first two quarters of 2010 (Jan. 1 - June 30, 2010) are detailed below.


Top Contributors to U.S. Inbound Visitor Spending, Based on Visa Payment Card Transactions

Country/Territory       Total CY 2009 Spend (USD)       Change Year-Over-Year: 2009 vs. 2008       Total H1 Spend (USD) (Jan. - June 2010)       H1 Change Year-Over-Year (%)  
Canada       $7.8 B       (12%)       $4.6 B       22%  
United Kingdom       $2.3 B       (26%)       $1.2 B       16%  
Japan       $1.7 B       (13%)       $787 M       3%  
Mexico       $1.7 B       (19%)       $819 M       24%  
Brazil       $1.2 B       17%       $835 M       73%  
France       $975 M       (12%)       $456 M       6%  
Australia       $861 M       0.4%       $490 M       44%  
Germany       $770 M       (15%)       $360 M       8%  
China       $700 M       36%       $482 M       74%  
South Korea       $652 M       49%       $394 M       39%  

Tourism Impact: The Gulf Region Oil Spill

Visa is actively working with tourism operators and organizations across the Gulf region to provide spending data and insights that will help them evaluate the short-and long-term impacts of the recent oil spill crisis.

While the oil spill did not result in an immediate impact in the weeks following the spill - May Visa transaction data reveals tourism spending was up over 2009 levels - tourism sharply declined in June 2010. June spending decreased 42 percent compared to May 2010, and also declined 9 percent year-over-year. All four states along the Gulf Coast saw declines in tourism spending from May to June: Alabama (8 percent), Florida (35 percent), Louisiana (65 percent) and Mississippi (65 percent).

Lodging and oil and gas are the two merchant segments hardest hit by the crisis. Visa transaction volume in the lodging segment decreased 50 percent, while the oil and gas segment was down 42 percent. According to a recent survey by the Knowland Group survey of hotel properties, 35 percent said that the oil spill has prompted guests to cancel their future reservations and 42 percent said the spill has hurt their ability to book future events.1

As the U.S. tourism industry works to continue the upward trajectory seen during the first six months of 2010 and navigate challenges such as the recent oil spill, Visa is committed to supporting the growth of its industry and government partners by providing a secure and reliable digital currency for cross-border transactions and access to millions of cardholders globally. For more information on VisaVue travel data and to view a complete copy of the Tourism Outlook: USA report,please visit

About Tourism Outlook: USA

Visa cardholder spending data cited is based upon VisaVue(R) Travel data, which reviews tourism spending on Visa-branded payment cards by international visitors from key source countries while visiting the United States during the first quarter of 2010 (Jan. 1 - March 31, 2010) and calendar years 2009 (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2009) and 2008 (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2008).

About Visa

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks--VisaNet--that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit

1 Knowland Group Survey, May 2010

SOURCE: Visa Inc.

Danielle Coan, 415-318-4104