The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or simply America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, it is the world's third or fourth-largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. Most of the country is located in central North America between Canada and Mexico. With an estimated population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City.
Tourism in the United States is a large industry that serves millions of international and domestic tourists yearly. Foreigners visit the U.S. to see natural wonders, cities, historic landmarks, and entertainment venues. Americans seek similar attractions, as well as recreation and vacation areas.
Tourism in the United States grew rapidly in the form of urban tourism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By the 1850s, tourism in the United States was well established both as a cultural activity and as an industry. New York City, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, all major U.S. cities, attracted numerous tourists by the 1890s. By 1915, city touring had marked significant shifts in the way Americans perceived, organized, and moved.
The democratization of travel occurred during the early twentieth century when the automobile revolutionized travel. Similarly, air travel revolutionized travel during 1945–1969, contributing greatly to tourism in the United States. Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors travelling in the United States totalled $10.9 billion during February 2013.
Tourists spend more money in the United States than any other country, while attracting the second-highest number of tourists after France and Spain. The discrepancy may be explained by longer stays in the US.