Despite a challenging economic environment, international tourism remains resilient, according to the new Tourism Outlook: USA report from Visa Inc. The report indicated that U.S. visitors to Egypt were strong contributors to the national tourism economy, contributing $144 million to tourism revenues in 2008, up 24 percent from 2007.
The average purchase amount for travelers from the U.S. while visiting Egypt was $209.55.
At the same time, Egyptian travelers spent $60 million on their Visa-branded payment cards while visiting the United States in 2008, a 40 percent increase over 2007. In 2008, Visa cardholders from around the globe spent more than $53 billion on their Visa payment cards while visiting the U.S. Other top contributors to the U.S. tourism economy included Canada ($15.3 billion), United Kingdom ($4.7 billion), Japan ($3.1 million) and Mexico ($2.5 billion).
Tourism Outlook: USA also analyzed traveler attitudes and intentions, based on a survey of 11 key source markets for international tourism. Key findings include that international travelers are fairly resilient. Only one in four are less willing to travel now compared to one year ago due to the socio-economic climate. And, 23 percent are more likely to travel internationally. However, they are not unaffected by the economic environment: 83 percent may adjust their international travel plans, with 52 percent will opt for travel during off-peak seasons and 33 percent choosing destinations where the cost of visiting is less.
“For businesses that rely on tourism, data such as the Tourism Outlooks is vital, particularly considering the current economic climate and external events that have had an impact on tourism,” said Bill Sheedy, President, North America at Visa Inc. “This data enables businesses to improve their offerings and marketing strategies to ensure that they appeal to travelers around the globe.”
The U.S. continues to be a leading destination for international travelers. Almost half of respondents have visited the U.S. at least once.
How are travelers from around the globe making payments while abroad? Tourism Outlook: USA indicated strong preference for electronic payment among international travelers. Fifty-five percent of respondents reported they prefer to use credit cards while traveling, with the next most popular form of payment being cash (20 percent). They are opting for their preferred payment method largely based on convenience (69 percent), security (53 percent) and ease of access to funds (46 percent).