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TI News: Information service from the Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI)

March 27, 2013


The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that 5.1 million international visitors traveled to the United States in November 2012, a four percent increase over November 2011. November 2012 registered the 20th straight month of increases in total U.S. visits.

In November 2012, the top inbound markets continued to be Canada and Mexico with Canada up six percent and Mexico down three percent. Seven of the nine overseas regions were up in November 2012 (Asia +12%, South America +26%, Caribbean +6%, Oceania +9%, Central America +10%, Eastern Europe +11%, and Africa +16%). Western Europe and the Middle East registered the only two declines, down three percent and four percent (respectively) in November 2012 compared to a year ago.

For the first eleven months of 2012, visitation (61.1 million) was up six percent compared to the same period in 2011.

Overseas Resident Visitation

  • In November 2012, overseas resident visitation (2.2 million) was up seven percent over November 2011.
  • November YTD 2012, overseas resident visits (27.2 million) were up seven percent compared to the same period of 2011.

Top 10 Countries

  • In November 2012, six of the top 10 countries posted increases in resident visitation.
  • During the first eleven months of 2012, eight of the top 10 countries (sort based on November 2012) posted increases in visitation to the United States.

Top 10 Countries (Sort based on November 2012)

Country of Residence % Change November
2012 vs. 2011
% Change YTD November
2012 vs. 2011
  Canada 6% 6%
  Mexico -3% 5%
  Japan 11% 14%
  United Kingdom -1% -2%
  Brazil 33% 18%
  Germany -4% 3%
  South Korea 16% 9%
  France 0% -3%
  People's Republic of China (EXCL HK) 18% 36%
  Australia 12% 8%

Top Ports: YTD November 2012
YTD November 2012, visitation through the top 15 ports of entry accounted for 81 percent of all overseas visits, a little less than one percentage point below last year. The top three ports (New York, Miami and Los Angeles) accounted for 39 percent of all overseas arrivals, nearly one percentage point below last year. Eleven of the top 15 ports posted increases in arrivals during the first eleven months of 2012. Five of these ports posted double-digit increases.

DHS Working to Improve the Travel Process for U.S. Visitors
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on March 21, 2013 that it has submitted to the Federal Register a rule that will automate the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record to streamline the admissions process for individuals visiting the United States. With this automation, visitors will no longer need to fill out a paper form when arriving into the United States by air or sea, improving procedures and reducing costs. This change will go into effect 30 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register. Automation of the I-94 will increase efficiency and streamline the admission process, and once fully implemented, the process will facilitate security and travel while saving CBP an estimated $15.5 million a year.

Travelers wanting a hard copy or other evidence of admission will be directed to www.cbp.gov/I94 to print a copy of an I-94 based on the electronically submitted data, including the I-94 number from the form. The web site will go live in 30 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register.

As part of CBP's work to bring advances in technology and automation to the passenger processing environment, records of admission will now be generated using traveler information already transmitted through electronic means. This change should decrease paperwork for both the CBP officer and the traveler and will allow CBP to better optimize its resources.

You can find the CBP press release on the CBP.gov web site at: http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/news_releases/national/03212013.xml

Backlog in I-94 Data Entry Process
Please note that the current processing time for entering foreign visitors' travel information into the U.S. Customs and Border Protection I-94 database has reached ten weeks or more. This backlog is having a negative effect on OTTI's processing cycle for issuing timely 2012 U.S. visitation data.

Access to OTTI Data
Industry & Analysis' Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) collects, analyzes and disseminates international travel and tourism statistics from the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System. OTTI produces visitation data tables, including a more detailed region, country and port analyses. To access these data, you are encouraged to visit the OTTI monthly arrivals page at <https://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2012-I-001/index.html>.

Throughout this report, percent changes posted for international visitation to the United States for November 2012 were calculated by comparing data in November 2012 to data in November 2011. Also, percent changes posted for year to date 2012 were calculated by comparing data January - November 2012 to data January - November 2011.