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Visa Tracks Summer-Travel Spending

Puerto Rico cardholders spent $6 million on U.S. mainland over 4th of July weekend


July 20, 2000
Copyright © 2000 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Summer travel spending tracked by Visa suggests U.S. consumers were not affected by rising fuel costs over the recent July 4th weekend.

Visa U.S.A. cardholders spent some $1.01 billion on travel-related products and services over the July 4th holiday weekend, according to a new Visa summer-travel spending index. Spending by U.S. consumers using Visa cards–tracked from Saturday through Monday–was up 10% over the same period of 1999.

Not surprisingly, gasoline consumption, on a dollar volume basis, rose significantly, reflecting the increase in gas prices. Visa spending over the July 4th weekend at automated pumps nationwide rose 48% to $20.7 million, versus $13.9 million last year.

Puerto Ricans traveling abroad during the July 4th weekend spent $6.9 million using their Visa cards in travel-related products and services.

According to Visa International, which tracks the credit card spending in Puerto Rico, 87% of the $6.9 million was spent on the U.S. mainland and 2% was spent in Spain. Most of the spending done by Puerto Rico cardholders was reported on hotels and restaurants.

"Visa’s promise to its consumers is universal acceptance. We make everything possible including travel to exotic destinations or simply within Puerto Rico," said Ricardo Hermida, vice president of corporate communications at Visa International, Latin America and Caribbean region. "It’s a tribute to our member banks in Puerto Rico that we have 850,000 cards in circulation on the island that account for sales volume of $1.4 billion a year."

The Visa U.S.A. index reported that there was also a surge in spending at stateside tourist attractions over the July 4th weekend, as consumers spent some $8.2 million, an increase of 72% over spending in 1999.

The southeast region of the U.S. saw the largest jump in travel spending over the holiday weekend, according to the index. Travelers in that region spent more than $207 million, up 21% from the same period last year.

As for the western region of the U.S., spending rose 17% over the July 4th weekend last year. The northeast and the midwest also had jumps of 8% and 12%, respectively.

For the study, Visa compiled a list of 15 merchant categories as a proxy for travel-related spending: car rentals, passenger railway, bus lines, service stations and automated gas dispensers, hotels/motels, fast food, amusement parks, tourist attractions, public golf courses, sports clubs and camps, travel agencies, steamship cruise lines, and campsites.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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