International visitors to the U.S. in May spent $13.9 billion on tourism and travel-related activities, up 8% from a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Friday.

For the first five months of 2012, international tourism spending is up 12% and has created an $18.4 billion trade surplus for the U.S.

In May, international tourists spent $10.6 billion on travel-related services and goods in the U.S. and another $3.3 billion on airfares, the Commerce Department said. May marked the 29th straight month of year-over-year increases in international tourism spending in the U.S.

"Tourism remains a high-growth bright spot in our economy, and we're on pace for yet another record year," said acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank in a statement.

For the first five months of the year, international tourist spending rose 12% from a year earlier to $68.4 billion. With U.S. tourists spending almost $50 billion abroad, the country so far this year has an $18.4 billion trade surplus for tourism.

In April, the Commerce Department forecast that overseas tourism visits to the U.S. will rise 5.5% this year to 65.4 million and will continue to increase by as much as 5% a year during the next five years. Last year, international tourists spent an annual record $153 billion and generated a $43 billion trade surplus for the U.S.

Follow Danny King on Twitter @dktravelweekly.


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