Brazilian and Chinese visitors led a resurgence in foreign tourism spending within the U.S. in the first half of the year, giving hope to domestic hoteliers, airline companies and others that the travel-spending slump of 2008 and 2009 is over, according to a report released Wednesday.
In 2010, expenses of Brazilian tourists abroad rose from US$ 16.422 billion, a historic record, according to the Central Bank so much so that Brazilian officials are bound to raise the so-called IOF (a tax over purchases overseas using credit cards) from 2, 38% to 6, 38%, according to Brazilian newspaper Estado de São Paulo. Such measure aims to curb consumption. In December 2010 alone, the expenses of Brazilians reached US$ 1.726 billion.
Foreign tourists spent about 20% more in the US during the first six months of 2010 than they did a year earlier, Visa reported. American citizens also boosted their spending abroad, increasing travel purchases on their Visa cards by 9.3% compared to the same period in 2009, the company said.
The spending increase from overseas reflects what travel industry members are hoping is a rebound in foreign tourism spending, which dropped 12% in 2009 to $32.9 billion. Europeans in particular appeared to cut back substantially on U.S. travel last year, when British citizens decreased their spending in the U.S. by 26% and Germans cut spending by 15%, according to Visa.
Brazilian and Chinese tourists showed the largest increases in this year's surge, combining to spend more than $1.1 billion during the first half of the year and boosting spending by more than 70% each.
Whether the spending boost will hold for the second half of the year remains to be seen, especially with high oil prices leading to higher plane tickets, as well as issues such as unrest in The Middle East and earthquake/tsunami disaster in Japan.
Chinese and Brazilians are likely to keep spending abroad, for which the travel industry is deeply grateful.