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The Tourists Are Back

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The Associated Press is reporting that tourists coming into the U.S. should rise this year to exceed pre-9/11 levels.  This is according to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gutierrez.  That’s good news for Disney and anybody else in the U.S. tourism and hospitality industry.

Long term, the Commerce Department forecast a 21% increase at the national level in foreign visitors over the next five years to 61.6 million in 2011. Particularly sharp growth is expected from Brazil, China and India.

Nine countries, according to the department, sent more tourists to the U.S. in 2006 than they ever had before: Mexico, South Korea, Australia, Spain, Ireland, India, China, Denmark and the Dominican Republic.

The majority of visitors to the U.S. — 57% — came from Canada and Mexico.

For every year since 1989, Gutierrez said, the U.S. has recorded a tourism surplus — meaning that foreigners spent more here than Americans did traveling abroad. In 2006, that surplus was $7.3 billion.

Guests to Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort from out of U.S. spend more per visit, on average, that local or domestic guests.