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TI News: An information service from Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI)

May 30, 2008


The Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI) released the 2007 visitation data
on overseas travel to destinations in the United States

In one of its earliest releases ever, the U.S. Department of Commerce announces the top states, cities, and territories benefiting from overseas travelers to the United States. In 2007, overseas arrivals to the United States posted a 10 percent growth rate. For the sixth straight year New York State was the top destination visited by these overseas travelers. California held the second position, followed by Florida, which also realized double-digit growth. Hawaii, Nevada, Massachusetts and Illinois all followed the top 3 states visited. Double-digit increases were experienced in 2007 by six of the 18 states/territories qualifying for reporting visitation estimates. New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut set records for visitation in 2007.

The top cities visited by overseas travelers in 2007 were: New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Orlando, Las Vegas, Honolulu, and Washington DC. Of the 19 city visitation estimates issued, six posted double-digit increases. New York City continued its top spot and has posted growth for the fourth straight year. There were numerous shifts between 2006 and 2007 among the top cities visited. New York City and Philadelphia set new visitation records in 2007, and only two cities registered declines. To view the top states and cities visited by overseas travelers, go to: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/outreachpages/download_data_table/2007_Overseas_Visitor_Profile.pdf

This year, The Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI) reported more destinations, countries, and showcased a new format for the reports, all based on the largest sample of overseas and Mexican air travelers since 1999 (37 percent above the 2006 level alone). This sample improvement enables better analyses of the shifts occurring in the international marketplace. These changes, in turn, impact the destinations visited. To view the market share, volume estimates and percentage change for overseas travelers to the U.S. for 2006 and 2007, please visit OTTI's web site at: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/outreachpages/inbound.general_information.inbound_overview.html

Destination visitation estimates are publicly released for 18 states and 19 cities, an increase over the number of estimates issued in 2006. The limited estimates for destinations visited are due to OTTI’s statistical policy implemented in 2006. The policy requires a minimum of 400 survey respondents for a public estimate. This is followed to help ensure the quality of the estimates. Changes in a state or city’s visitation estimate can be influenced by the changes in arrivals to the country and the characteristics of the overseas visitors. For example, the decrease in travel to Hawaii/Honolulu is due principally to an overall decline in travel by Japanese visitors which account for a major part of Hawaii's foreign visitors.

Likewise, other changes in key traveler characteristics may also influence visitation, such as, business versus leisure travel, the number of destinations visited, and/or the traveler’s use of transportation within the country. In 2007,some of the key shifts in the traveler characteristics that occurred compared to 2006 and over the past several years that can impact the destinations visited include: 1) an increase in the number of business travelers and a decline in the share and number of visitors for leisure purposes or to visit friends and relatives; 2) a decline in the market share of visitors using a travel package to visit the for the third straight year; 3) an increase for the sixth straight year in the percent of travelers who only visit one place while within the country; 4) a similar decline in the use of transportation while in the U.S., with a decreased share of travelers who rented autos while within the U.S, for the sixth year, met by a similar ongoing decrease in the percent of travelers who take a domestic flight while within the country.

The 2007 overseas traveler profile may be viewed at http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/outreachpages/download_data_table/2007_Overseas_Visitor_Profile.pdf and it illustrates the 35 traveler characteristics data that is available for a travel or census region, state, city, airport, industry sector (hotels, rental cars, credit card use, specific activities), or airline1. Included are: trip planning factors, the purpose of trip (business and/or leisure), whether a tour package was used, the proportion of first time vs. repeat travelers to the country, transportation used while within the country, demographics (age, gender, occupation type, income), activities and expenditures.

In addition to the aggregate level data available on the web site, OTTI also offers detailed and custom reports or data on a subscription basis using the 35 tables shown in the overseas profile. For information on the research programs that were used to generate the market intelligence issued, see the publications section and custom reports section in the Research Programs area of the Survey of International Air Travelers (In-Flight Survey Program), at: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/research/programs/ifs/index.html. If you have any questions or need any additional information concerning the visitation estimates, please contact OTTI.

1 No carrier specific data will be released by anyone except to the airline’s own management.