America’s Visitor Spending

Take advantage of America’s robust visitor spending.

No matter what the situation seems to be with the American economy, Americans have not stopped traveling and never will.  They also have not curtailed spending on tourism. The most comprehensive recent, accurate study of visitor spending that we are aware of was released by Travel Oregon in 2023. 90% of respondents indicated that scenic beauty was their top activity selection for traveling to Oregon, 84% used an automobile for transportation, whether owned or rented, and 70% were 45 years or older, with an average age of 51.1 years. Only 6% did no planning before arriving, 50% planned within 60 days, and 44% engaged in a longer planning horizon. Visiting historic towns and art galleries were two top activities.  All these finding are consistent with other research.

The per party trip spending of these visitors rose to $2,497, with 25% spent on lodging, 24% on dining, 12% on things to see and do, and 11% on retail. Based on the results of a Travel Oregon survey from 2014 with an average per party spend of $1,876, the level of spending increase revealed in the 2023 study does not seem out of line. For those who may want to question whether visitors spend robustly, nearly a quarter of the $2,497 or $624.25 was spent on lodging and just slightly less than that spent on dining.  80% of the spending was done by parties of 2!  Considering an Average Daily Rate (ADR) of $148.83 for hotels in the US, it is right in line. ($624.25 divided by $143.83 = 4.2 nights).

The spend on dining should not be surprising either.  The average dinner check in the US is between $11-$20 per person.  Allowing $40 for two for dinner subtracted from the average of $136.74 for dining, leaves a remainder of $96.74 to be divided between 4 meals plus any snacks.  Allowing $10 per day for snacks and incidentals per person leaves less than $20 per meal for breakfast and lunch.  That certainly is not out of line in view of today’s costs of dining out.

One of the most important things that any tourism program can do is to determine the actual visitor spending in their own community.  We customarily work with accommodations properties, restaurants, and attractions to determine these critical numbers needed to prove the worth of tourism to the local economy.

Case Studies

Rather than relying on generic economic models, determine the actual visitor spending in your community, to prove the economic value of the tourism program.
Download the Visitor Spending Calculation White Paper with Examples.