International inbound visitors spent more than $15.8 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States in October, making it the highest monthly level of spending since Covid struck in February 2020, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office.
Year to date international travel spending has accumulated to $129.9 billion, up more than 110 percent year over year. That translated into $427 million spending per day for the U.S. economy.
International travelers spent a total of $8.8 billion on lodging, recreation and other travel and tourism-related goods and services in October, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. International travel spending for that month was down nearly $3 billion compared to October 2019, which had $11.7 billion.
The U.S. also came out with a trade surplus in October. Americans traveling abroad spent around $15.8 billion, giving the U.S. a slight trade plus of $58 million for October. In September, the U.S. had a trade deficit of more than $1 billion.
One likely reason why the surplus was so small has been the ongoing delay to process first-time visitor visa applications at American embassies in multiple countries outside the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. The U.S. Travel Association estimates the average wait time for first-time visa applicants from key U.S. markets has exploded to 400 days.