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February 05, 2009


November International Arrivals Down Nine Percent When Compared to November 2007

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that 47 million international visitors traveled to the United States during the first eleven months of 2008, an increase of almost six percent over the same period in 2007. In November 2008, total visitation was 3.6 million, down nine percent when compared to November 2007.

International visitors spent $131.8 billion from January through November 2008, an increase of 19 percent over the first eleven months of 2007. Total Spending through November has exceeded the full year record spending in 2007 of $122.3 billion. In November 2008, visitors spent $11.5 billion, an increase of two percent over November 2007.

HIGHLIGHTS: November 2008 International Arrivals1 to the United States

  • Year-to-date 2008, Canadian visitation grew eight percent over the same period in 2007 driven by land arrivals, up eight percent. At the same time, air arrivals increased nine percent.
  • Arrivals from Mexico (traveling to interior2 U.S. points) ddecreased seven percent during the first eleven months of 2008. Land arrivals decreased six percent and air arrivals for the year were down seven percent.
  • Overseas (excludes Canada and Mexico) arrivals decreased six percent in November while increasing seven percent year-to-date.

Overseas Arrivals

  • Visitation from Western Europe was down six percent for November and up 14 percent year-to-date, accounting for 48 percent of overseas arrivals.
  • Arrivals from the United Kingdom were down 14 percent in November but up three percent year-to-date. Visitors from the United Kingdom accounted for 37 percent of all Western European arrivals.
  • Year-to-date, German arrivals increased 18 percent, French arrivals grew 26 percent, and Italian arrivals were up 25 percent, continuing growth trends from 2007. For the first eleven months of 2008, visitation from the Netherlands grew 22 percent. At the same time, visitors from Spain and Ireland grew 31 percent and nine percent, respectively. Arrivals from Sweden and Switzerland were up 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively, for the year.
  • Visitation from Asia decreased two percent year-to-date. Japanese arrivals decreased eight percent year-to-date. Japan accounted for 52 percent of all Asian visitors for the year. Year-to-date, arrivals from South Korea decreased five percent. India and PR China grew seven percent and 25 percent, respectively. Taiwanese visitation decreased five percent in the first eleven months of 2008.
  • Arrivals from South America were up 13 percent year-to-date. Year-to-date, double-digit growth in visitation was observed from Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina. From South America, top arrivals were from Brazil, accounting for 30 percent of arrivals from the region.
  • Visitation from the Caribbean area decreased nine percent year-to-date. Air arrivals from the Caribbean were also down nine percent for the year. During the first eleven months of 2008, there was a 14 percent decrease in arrivals from the Dominican Republic, a seven percent decline from Jamaica, and a 32 percent drop from the Bahamas.
  • Travel from Oceania increased three percent year-to-date. Australia registered a four percent expansion year-to-date. Year-to-date, Australia accounted for 81 percent of all arrivals from Oceania.
  • Central American arrivals for the first eleven months of 2008 were down one percent when compared to year-to-date 2007.
  • Arrivals from the Middle East increased 10 percent year-to-date. For the first eleven months of 2008, Israel’s visitation increased seven percent.
  • Eastern European arrivals grew 14 percent year-to-date. Russian visitation increased 25 percent for the first eleven months of 2008.
  • African visitation was up 15 percent year-to-date.

With dramatic changes currently taking place in the global economy, tracking monthly arrivals to the United States is becoming more important to stay informed on the changing developments of the international travel market to the United States.

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

TOP PORTS: Year-to-Date November 2008

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

Year-to-date, overseas arrivals (excluding Canada and Mexico) were up seven percent through November 2008. Arrivals through the top 15 ports-of-entry accounted for 84 percent of all overseas arrivals, nearly one percent higher than last year.

Thirteen of the top fifteen ports posted increases in arrivals for the first eleven months of 2008. Arrivals increased by double digits through six of the ports. Arrivals through San Francisco and Chicago were up nine percent and five percent, respectively, moving them into fifth and sixth positions ahead of Honolulu, which experienced a nine percent decline in arrivals. Atlanta, increasing 14 percent, moved into eighth place just ahead of Agana, Guam. Houston, increasing 10 percent, moved into 13th place ahead of Detroit. Arrivals through Philadelphia grew 30 percent as it climbed into the 15th spot.

To access top port activity, go to OTTI monthly arrival page above and scroll down the page until you see the yellow title bar entitled: 2008 Monthly Top Airports for Overseas Non-Resident Arrivals. Click on the Excel file to view the monthly port figures.


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:

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 (OTTI)
1401 Constitution Avenue N.W., Room 1003
Washington, D.C.  20230
Phone: (202) 482-0140
Fax: (202) 482-2887
Email: Otti@trade.gov

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 type ‘E’ treaty traders or investors and ‘I’ representatives of foreign information media into the counts to more accurately reflect 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.