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(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) – California applauds President Obama’s efforts to boost international visitation to the United States. In an address, the President praised the value of travel and announced a federal plan to ease entry requirements for international visitors in an effort to spur the nation’s economy. 

Millions of visitors come to California each year from all over the globe, generating more than $17 billion in spending to the state’s economy and helping to support nearly 900,000 jobs. 

Highlighting the tremendous economic value of tourism, President Obama discussed the importance of providing access to the U.S. for people from all over the globe, especially those from China, India and Brazil. As access to California is made simpler, visitors from those countries will help boost the state’s economy by traveling more frequently and spending more money while here. 

“International visitation remains an untapped pot of gold when people cannot get here,” said Caroline Beteta, President and CEO of Visit California and Vice-Chair of Brand USA. “With an abundance of visitor experiences and a brand loved worldwide, California has a tremendous opportunity to benefit from efforts to improve the entry process for foreign visitors and remain the number one tourist destination in the United States.” 

California continues to reap the benefits from international travel: 

• In 2012, for the first time ever, the travel industry injected more than $100 billion in direct travel spending into California’s economy; 
• While international travel represents only six percent of all visits to the state, it represents 18 percent of all dollars spent; 
• International visitation to California is expected to grow 4.8 percent in 2012; 
• Total travel-related employment in California in 2011 is expected to reach 890,000 jobs, which is more than four percent of total employment in the state; 
• The $17 billion spent in California in 2010 by international travelers alone was more than the combined value of the state’s top four product exports ($15.2 billion): Civilian Aircraft, Non-Industrial Diamonds, Computer Parts and Voice/Image/Data Equipment. 

California is already the number one U.S. destination for Chinese visitors. In 2010, approximately 401,000 Chinese visitors – half of the total number that visited the U.S. – came to the Golden State. Those visitors spent a record $1 billion in California. 

India is not only one of the fastest growing economies in the world; it is also a rapidly growing market for travel to the Golden State. In 2010, 184,000 visitors came from India to California – up 17-percent from the previous year – and spend $188 million. 

The United States is the top international travel destination for Brazilians. In 2010, 112,000 Brazilians arrived in California, representing 9.3 percent of overall 1.2 million arrivals in the USA. 

For more information about California’s travel and tourism economic value, please visit http://tourism.visitcalifornia.com.  

International Travel is Major Boost to State’s Economy

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