International visitors to the United States spent an estimated $87.1 billion in the first six months of 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

This is a 7 percent increase over travel spend in the first half of 2012 and a very positive indicator of tourism growth.

Tourists spent the majority of that amount, or $67 billion, on goods and services including food, hotels, local transportation, entertainment, and gifts. Another $20.1 billion went towards fares on U.S. airlines.

Even if international traveler spend doubles to $174.2 billion in 2013, the U.S. is still far away from its 2021 annual goal of $250 billion.

The goals outlined in the National Travel and Tourism Strategy are part of plan to boost visitor numbers to 100 million by the end of 2021 with expedited visa processes and structural improvements at U.S. entry points.

Photo Credit: A tourist takes a photo of his family in Times Square. Peter Dutton / Flickr