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US Outpaced in Tourist Spending by Global Rivals – Worth Just 1.1 Percent of Economy Versus 2.1 Percent for Europe

Chicago, IL, June 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Tourist spending represents just 1.1 percent of the US economy and is likely to fall further behind the global average of 1.2 percent and versus 2.1 percent for Europe, shows research by UHY, the international and consultancy network.

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The study found that European and major developed economies, on average, have a higher level of tourist spending in their countries as a percentage of GDP (2.1 percent and 1.2 percent respectively) compared to emerging markets (0.7 percent).

However, the rate of growth in tourist spending in the US over the last year was just 0.3 percent – up to$205.94 billion in the last year, from $205.42 billion in the previous year* – far below the 2.2 percent growth in emerging markets.

The US was ranked 25th in the study. UHY studied 34 countries around the world, looking at spending by tourists (including travel to the country) in the past two years as a percentage of that country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

UHY explains that a main driver behind the slower rate of growth in tourist spending is that many European economies are often unable to upgrade tourist infrastructure capacity as quickly as many emerging markets.

China is heavily investing in the infrastructure needed for large numbers of international visitors. Beijing Daxing Airport will be the largest airport in the world when it opens in 2019.

While tourism represents a relatively small part of the overall US economy, in many states it is a significant segment of the economy. In New York, which is the most visited state in the country, one out of every twelve jobs in New York is tourism-related. In New York alone, $8.2 billion was generated in revenue in state and local taxes by tourism in 2016.

Michael Mahoney, managing director in the New York City office of UHY member firm UHY Advisors in the US, comments: “Tourism is a major battleground in the global economy – both in terms of generating hard currency and soft power and the US is lagging behind.”

“More developed economies, including many in European countries, can often find it a slower, more difficult process to increase tourism capacity.”

“While the overall level of spending is high, it is important that the government invests in what is a key segment of many states’ local economies, as noted in the tourist activity in New York”

“As China and other emerging markets continue to invest heavily in new airports and other much needed infrastructure, the US Government should look at ways of boosting capacity to accommodate continued large numbers of tourists.”

“As globalization continues and more people get the opportunity to travel more widely, tourism is likely to become an even more important source of jobs and a catalyst for business creation and growth. Governments need to recognize the opportunities it brings.”

Tourist spending represents 1.1% of the US economy – nearly 10% below the global average

Rank Country 2016 GDP
USD$ billion
2016 Travel expenditure
USD$ billion
Travel expenditure
as a %
of GDP
Europe $14,494.03 $298.26 2.1%
World $61,107.02 $745.93 1.2%
G7 $35,580.00 $416.88 1.2%
Emerging Markets $19,650.02 $144.45 0.7%
BRICs $16,560.00 $80.67 0.5%
1 Croatia $51.35 $9.63 18.8%
2 Malta $11.28 $1.45 12.9%
3 Portugal $205.27 $14.05 6.8%
4 Malaysia $296.54 $18.08 6.1%
5 New Zealand $185.38 $9.42 5.1%
6 Spain $1,240.00 $60.61 4.9%
7 Vietnam $201.31 $8.25 4.1%
8 Uruguay $52,42 $1.83 3.5%
9 Zambia $20.94 $0.68 3.3%
10 Australia $1,260.00 $32.44 2.6%
11 Belgium $468.15 $11.61 2.5%
12 Poland $471.22 $10.98 2.3%
13 Denmark $306.90 $7.05 2.3%
14 Guatemala $68.76 $1.56 2.3%
15 Italy $1,860.00 $40.37 2.2%
16 Mexico $1,080.00 $19.65 1.8%
17 Netherlands $777.55 $14.05 1.8%
18 Israel $317.75 $5.72 1.8%
19 Peru $195.43 $3.50 1.8%
20 France $2,470.00 $42.64 1.7%
21 Rep. of Ireland $304.50 $5.20 1.7%
22 Philippines $304.91 $5.15 1.7%
23 United Kingdom $2,660.00 $41.45 1.6%
24 Canada $1,540.00 $18.28 1.2%
25 United States $18,620.00 $205.94 1.1%
26 Germany $3,480.00 $37.45 1.1%
27 India $2,270.00 $22.43 1.0%
28 Romania $187.81 $1.73 0.9%
29 Argentina $554.11 $4.69 0.8%
30 Japan $4,950.00 $30.75 0.6%
31 Russia $1,280.00 $7.79 0.6%
32 China $11,220.00 $44.43 0.4%
33 Brazil $1,790.00 $6.02 0.3%
34 Nigeria $405.44 $1.07 0.3%

The US sees tourist spending increase by just 0.3% in past year

Rank Country 2015 Travel expenditure
USD$ billion
2016 Travel

expenditure
USD$ billion

Amount change in

travel

expenditure

USD$ billion

Percentage change

in travel

expenditure

BRIC $80.24 $80.67 $425.00 0.5%
Emerging Markets $141.34 $144.45 $3.11 2.2%
Europe $294.89 $298.26 $3.37 1.1%
G7 $413.60 $416.88 $3,29 0.8%
World $726.58 $745.93 $19.35 2.7%
1 Nigeria $0.41 $1.07 $655.00 159.0%
2 Japan $24.97 $30.75 $5.78 23.2%
3 Australia $28.89 $32.44 $3.55 12.3%
4 Vietnam $7.35 $8.25 $0.90 12.2%
5 Mexico $17.73 $19.65 $1.92 10.8%
6 Portugal $12.62 $14.05 $1.36 10.7%
7 Canada $16.54 $18.28 $1.73 10.5%
8 Croatia $8.83 $9.63 $0.80 9.1%
9 Rep. of Ireland $4.79 $5.20 $0.41 8.6%
10 Spain $56.53 $60.61 $4.07 7.2%
11 India $21.01 $22.43 $1.41 6.7%
12 Netherlands $13.17 $14.05 $0.87 6.6%
13 Peru $3.31 $3.50 $0.19 5.8%
14 Denmark $6.69 $7.05 $0.36 5.4%
15 Malta $1.38 $1.45 $0.70 5.1%
16 Poland $10.47 $10.98 $0.50 4.8%
17 Zambia $0.66 $0.68 $0.23 3.5%
18 Brazil $5.84 $6.02 $0.18 3.1%
19 New Zealand $9.14 $9.42 $0.28 3.0%
20 Uruguay $1.78 $1.83 $0.5 2.7%
21 Italy $39.42 $40.37 $0.95 2.4%
22 Malaysia $17.67 $18.08 $0.42 2.4%
23 Germany $36.88 $37.45 $0.56 1.5%
24 Romania $1.71 $1.73 $0.02 1.1%
25 United States $205.42 $205.94 $0.52 0.3%
26 China $44.97 $44.43 -$0.54 -1.2%
27 Israel $5.79 $5.72 -$0.07 -1.2%
28 Guatemala $1.58 $1.56 -$0.03 -1.9%
29 Philippines $5.27 $5.15 -$0.12 -2.3%
30 Belgium $11.96 $11.61 -$0.35 -3.0%
31 France $44.83 $42.64 -$2.19 -4.9%
32 Argentina $4.93 $4.69 -$0.24 -4.9%
33 Russia $8.42 $7.79 -$0.63 -7.5%
34 United Kingdom $45.53 $41.45 -$4.08 -9.0%

Source: IMF and UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organization).

*In 2016, latest data available.

**Source: UN World Tourism Authority

*** National Statistics Institute (INE), July 2017

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About UHY LLP

UHY LLP is a licensed independent CPA firm that performs attest services in an alternative practice structure with UHY Advisors, Inc. and its subsidiary entities. UHY Advisors, Inc. provides tax and business consulting services through wholly owned subsidiary entities that operate under the name of “UHY Advisors.” UHY Advisors, Inc. and its subsidiary entities are not licensed CPA firms. UHY LLP and UHY Advisors, Inc. are US members of Urbach Hacker Young International Limited, a UK company, and form part of the international UHY network of legally independent accounting and consulting firms. “UHY” is the brand name for the UHY international network. Any services described herein are provided by UHY LLP and/or UHY Advisors (as the case may be) and not by UHY or any other member firm of UHY. Neither UHY nor any member of UHY has any liability for services provided by other members.

About UHY, the network

Established in 1986 and based in London, UK, UHY is a leading network of independent audit, accounting, tax and consulting firms with offices in over 325 major business centres across more than 95 countries. Our staff members, over 7,850 strong, are proud to be part of the 16th largest international accounting and consultancy network. Each member of UHY is a legally separate and independent firm. For further information on UHY please go to www.uhy.com.

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UHY is an international association of independent accounting and consultancy firms, whose organizing body is Urbach Hacker Young International Limited, a UK company. Each member of UHY is a separate and independent firm. Services to clients are provided by the UHY member firms and not by Urbach Hacker Young International Limited. Neither Urbach Hacker Young International Limited nor any member of UHY has any liability for services provided by other members.

Chris Clark
UHY LLP
586-843-2637
CClark@uhy-us.com