U.S. Welcomed Record Number of International Visitors in 2014

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A record 75 million international visitors traveled to the United States in 2014, an increase of 7 percent from 2013, the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration reported this week.

"Today's data shows that the United States continues to be the premier destination for international visitors," U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig said in a statement. "It also highlights that we remain on track toward achieving President Obama's goal of attracting 100 million international visitors to the United States by 2021."

According to Commerce Department data, the top inbound markets for U.S. travel last year continued to be Canada and Mexico; visitation from the latter grew 19 percent, reaching a record 17.3 million visits.

Also setting a new record was annual overseas visitation, which excludes visitors from Canada and Mexico. This number grew 8 percent last year, reaching 34.4 million visitors.

The U.S. Travel association celebrated the new numbers, which it attributed to pro-travel policymaking in Washington, DC.

"This latest international visitation figure is the fruit of a lot of hard work by the American travel community and policymakers in Washington. This kind of incredible upsurge doesn't happen by accident, especially because other countries are competing harder than ever for international travel dollars," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "Recent policy moves like renewing the Brand USA public-private partnership to market the U.S., adding Customs and Border Protection officers, expanding Global Entry and the Visa Waiver Program, and extending the validity of Chinese tourist visas all add up to make this kind of success possible. Of course, it's not just the number of people, it's the dollars they spend here -- a record $222 billion last year."

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