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TI News: An information service from Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI)
March 24, 2009
2008 INTERNATIONAL VISITATION SETS NEW RECORDS
December International Arrivals Down Seven Percent When Compared to December 2007
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that a record 58 million international visitors traveled to the United States during 2008, an increase of nearly four percent over 2007. Thirteen of the top 25 arrivals markets broke records set in previous years. In December 2008, the total monthly visitation reached 3.9 million, down seven percent when compared to December 2007. Fourth quarter total arrivals declined six percent.
Arrivals to the United States in 2008 reflected a shift between the first nine months of the year and the fourth quarter. For the first nine months, 17 of the top 20 arrivals markets posted increases in arrivals. Canada was growing at a double-digit rate, but Mexican arrivals were in decline. Overseas arrivals (all countries except Canada and Mexico) were up nine percent through the first nine months of 2008, and only two world regions posted declines through September 2008.
During the fourth quarter of 2008, however, a shift took place in arrivals to the United States. During the last quarter of the year, only 12 of the top 20 countries posted growth. Both Canada and Mexico posted declines in arrivals and all overseas markets declined by almost three percent. Of the nine world regions tracked each month, five posted declines in arrivals.
With this shift among some of the top U.S. markets, OTTI would like to encourage the industry to watch the developments for U.S. arrivals by returning to the monthly arrivals page on OTTI’s website at: http://travel.trade.gov/research/monthly/arrivals/index.html
A few other tools to assist the industry understand the changes in 2009 include:
The monthly arrivals data, the Barometer program, and forecast data for top markets should provide the industry with sufficient information to track and analyze shifts in U.S. arrivals.
HIGHLIGHTS: 2008 International Arrivals1 to the United States
Overall, for the first nine months of 2008, 40 of the top 50 countries posted increases in arrivals, 23 of these countries were growing at a double-digit growth rate when compared to the first nine months of 2007. Then, during the fourth quarter 2008, growth in arrivals to the United States was only registered by 27 of the top 50 arrivals markets and only 11 countries posted double-digit growth in the fourth quarter. This means that for 2008, 37 of the top 50 arrivals markets posted growth rates when compared to 2007, and 20 of these countries ended the year with double-digit growth when compared to annual 2007 arrivals.
To access the 2008 annual and monthly arrivals data for world regions and top markets, visit http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/view/m-2008-I-001/index.html
TOP PORTS: Year-to-Date December 2008
In 2008, overseas arrivals (excluding Canada and Mexico) were up six percent. 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 in 2008. Arrivals increased by double digits through six of the ports. Arrivals through San Francisco and Chicago increased eight percent and four percent, respectively, moving them into fifth and sixth positions ahead of Honolulu, which experienced a 10 percent decline in arrivals. Atlanta, increasing 13 percent, moved into eighth place, just ahead of Agana, Guam. Houston, increasing 11 percent, moved into 12th place, ahead of Boston and Detroit. Arrivals through Philadelphia grew 26 percent as it climbed into the 15th spot; registering the largest growth among the top 15 ports of entry.
To access top port activity, go to the OTTI monthly arrivals 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.
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.
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 United States. 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
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.