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June 24, 2008


First Quarter Arrivals 15 Percent above Last Year

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that 4.7 million international visitors traveled to the United States in March 2008, an increase of 19 percent over March 2007. See release >https://trade.gov/press/press_releases/2008/tourism_062308.asp
(Note: Easter occurred on March 23 this year vs. April 7 in 2007) Total visitation year-to-date 2008 was up 15 percent from the first quarter of 2007. International visitors also spent a record $11.4 billion during the month, up 20 percent from March 2007.

Highlights of March 2008 International Arrivals1 to the United States

  • Canadian visitation grew 26 percent over March 2007 driven by land arrivals, up 36 percent with air arrivals, up 13 percent. First quarter arrivals were up 21 percent.
  • Arrivals from Mexico (traveling to interior 2 U.S. points) were up 31 percent in March 2008. Air arrivals for the month were up 16 percent and land arrivals jumped by 38 percent. Overall traffic for the first quarter was up 18 percent with air arrivals up 11 percent.
  • Overseas arrivals increased 10 percent in March and for the first quarter. Visitation from overseas markets has grown for 11 consecutive months.

  • Visitation from Western Europe was up 15 percent in March 2008 and 14 percent for the quarter accounting for 45 percent of all overseas arrivals. Eastern European arrivals continued double-digit growth from October 2007, up 15 percent for the month and for the quarter. Russian visitation increased 25 percent for the month.
  • Arrivals from the United Kingdom were up almost three percent in March and six percent for the quarter. Visitors from the U.K. accounted for 40 percent of all Western European arrivals.
  • German, French, Italian and Irish arrivals were up 19 percent, 16 percent, 22 percent and 23 percent, respectively, for the quarter, continuing growth trends from 2007. Visitors from Spain and the Netherlands were up 48 percent and 17 percent, respectively, for the month and 32 percent and 17 percent for the year. Arrivals from Sweden were up 25 percent for the month and 22 percent for the year exceeding the visitation growth rate of 18 percent in 2007. Belgium and Swiss visitation jumped by 57 percent and 29 percent, respectively for March.
  • Visitation from Asia increased almost one percent in March and three percent for the quarter. Japanese arrivals declined six percent in March and were down three percent for the quarter. Japan accounts for 56 percent of all Asian visitors for the year. Arrivals from South Korea, PR China and India grew by five percent, 32 percent and 13 percent in the first quarter of 2008. Taiwanese visitation recovered from the February decline and was down only one percent for March and down five percent year-to-date in 2008.
  • Arrivals from South America were up 25 percent in March and 21 percent for the quarter. Double-digit growth in visitation was observed from Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina both for the month and the quarter. Brazil is still the top arrivals market from South America, accounting for 31 percent of arrivals from the region. Central American arrivals increased 10 percent in March and 12 percent for the quarter. Visitation from the Caribbean bounced back from February, up 11 percent in March but down one percent in the quarter. In March there was a 36 percent decline in arrivals from the Bahamas but a five percent increase from the Dominican Republic. Air arrivals from the Caribbean were down two percent for the year so far.
  • Travel from Oceania increased three percent in March and six percent in 2008 with Australia registering a four percent increase for the month and seven percent expansion for the quarter. Australia accounted for 84 percent of all arrivals from Oceania in 2008.
  • Arrivals from the Middle East dropped by nine percent in March but was still up one percent for the quarter. African visitation was up 11 percent for the month and up 10 percent for the quarter.

To access the 2008 monthly arrivals data for world regions and top markets, visit

The following is a summary of top port arrival activity for the first quarter of 2008.

TOP PORTS March 2008 Year-to-Date

Arrivals to the USA by port-of-entry are tracked on a monthly basis. Department of Commerce has arrival data on more than 40 U.S. ports-of-entry from all world regions and 30 countries. A brief analysis is presented on the top 15 ports for overseas arrivals during 2008.

Overseas arrivals (excludes Canada and Mexico) were up 10 percent through March 2008. Arrivals through the top 15 ports-of-entry accounted for 86 percent of all overseas arrivals about the same as in 2007.

Thirteen of the top fifteen ports posted increases in arrivals for the first two months of 2008. Arrivals increased by double digits through nine of the ports. Arrivals through Newark were up 18 percent moving it into 4th position, ahead of Honolulu, which experienced a decline in arrivals. San Francisco moved ahead of Agana (Guam) which also registered a decline in arrivals. Philadelphia moved into 15th position, displacing Fort Lauderdale.

To access top port activity, go to:

1 (The U.S. Department of Commerce complies with the UN World Tourism Organization (WTO) standard definition and class of international travelers when reporting monthly and annual arrivals data. This standard excludes all day-trippers from any of the counts/estimates, including those from Canada and Mexico.) Also, OTTI has included non-immigrant visa types ‘E’ treaty trader or investor and “I” representative of foreign information media into the counts to more accurately reflects business visitation.

2 The U.S. ‘interior’ begins 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the U.S.-Mexico border. This distinguishes longer-haul travelers, including air passengers, from short-haul border crossers.

The monthly Summary of International Travel to the U.S. report has approximately 30 tables that provide data on monthly and year-to-date arrivals to the country. The report provides data on approximately 90 countries each month and more than 40 ports of entry. Numerous breakouts are provided by world region and country for the port tables as well.

To find out more about this program, please go to: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/research/programs/i94/index.html

If you would like to subscribe to the monthly international arrivals reports, please go to:

U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
Office of Travel and Tourism Industries
14th & Constitution Avenue NW, Room 1003
Washington, D.C. 20230
Phone:(202) 482-0140
Fax: (202) 482-2887
Email: Otti@trade.gov