Skift Take

Tourist dollars are shifting to new destinations, largely in Asia, but shopping and world-renowned attractions are still the largest factor influencing where travelers spend.

International tourists spent more money in the United States than any other country in 2012, reveals data from the UNWTO‘s recently released Tourism Barometer.

Foreign tourists spent $126.2 billion in the United States in 2012, more than double the second highest amount, $56 billion, that travelers spent in Spain that year.

The report outlines how much tourists spent in 50 global countries in 2012. Tourism receipts, or money spent by international visitors, count all transactions related to consumption by international visitors including lodging, food, domestic transportation, entertainment, and shopping.

Five of the ten countries that filled their pockets with the most tourists’ dollars in recent years are located in Europe.  Tourists spent between $36 billion and $56 billion in each France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and the UK in 2012.

China also earns a top spot on the list with companies in the mainland and Macau reaping a combined $94 billion in revenue in 2012.

The 20 countries where tourists spent the most money in 2012 is outlined below:

Country International Tourism Receipts (US$ Billion) Growth Between 2012 & 2011 (%)
United States 126.2 9.2
Spain 55.9 1.2
France 53.6 6
China 50 3.2
Macao (China) 43.9 13.7
Italy 41.2 3.8
Germany 38.1 6.2
United Kingdom 36.4 5.2
Thailand 33.8 26.7
Hong Kong (China 33.1 15.9
Australia 31.8 1.2
Turkey 25.3 1.2
Malaysia 20.2 4
Singapore 19.3 5.8
Austria 18.9 3.1
India 18 21.8
Canada 17.4 4.6
Switzerland 16 -1.3
Japan 14.6 32.9
Korea 14.2 13.6
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Tags: china, france, skiftstats, spain, unwto, usa

Photo credit: American flags are handed out at the Woodward Dream Cruise, the world’s largest one-day automotive event held in Detroit. Kaleidico / Flickr

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