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

November 15, 2010

U.S. INTERNATIONAL AIR TRAVEL STATISTICS SYSTEM RE-ENGINEERED

Source Document DHS I-92 is Now ‘Paperless’

The U.S. Department of Commerce relies on international air traffic data provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Customs & Border Protection (C&BP) to analyze and report on air passenger flows into and out of the United States. From the 1970’s through June 2010, I-92 source data were based on manual recordkeeping through the media of paper documents (DHS I-92 Aircraft/Vessel Report), one report for each of the 950,000 flights per year. However, starting in July 2010, C&BP moved away from the paper based system to an electronic record system. It is expected that the July 2010 data will be processed via the new C&BP production system by early December.

The electronic “I-92” system will benefit OTTI reporting in several ways.

  • Data integrity will improve due to the elimination of manual data entry and the inclusion of flights not previously picked up through manual processing.
  • For the first time, beginning in 2011, Canadian market flights will be reported.
  • There will be timelier reporting, i.e., significant reduction from a two month lag.

The DHS I-92 is the only source of U.S. citizen and non-citizen air traffic on international flights to and from the United States. Specifically, OTTI uses DHS I-92 data to report U.S. citizen air departure “outbound” travel from U.S. airports to international airports. OTTI also uses the I-92 data in the management of its Survey of International Air Travelers program. These data form the basis for estimating travel imports in the U.S. Balance of Payments.

On a related topic, DHS converted its DHS I-94W’s individual arrival/departure record from paper to electronic for all air and sea arrivals as part of the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) program for citizens from Visa-Waiver countries. This transition, which was completed in late June 2010, has gone quite smoothly. (DHS still collects the paper I-94 forms from citizens of countries for which a visa is required to enter the United States.) All of the I-94 data are used to estimate travel exports in the U.S. Balance of Payments.

Background
Industry & Analysis’ Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) collects, analyzes and disseminates international travel and tourism statistics for the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System. To view the OTTI U.S. departure data tables that provide monthly estimates of U.S. air travel abroad by world region and the rate of change each month and year-to-date, please visit: http://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2010-O-001/index.html.

For more detailed information on the U.S. international travel abroad research program, please visit: http://travel.trade.gov/research/programs/i92/index.html.

U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI)
1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 1003
Washington, D.C. 20230
Phone: (202) 482-0140; Fax: (202) 482-2887
Website: www.travel.trade.gov
Email: otti@trade.gov