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TI News: An information service from the National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO)

December 15, 2015

International Visits to the USA Grow Eight Percent in May 2015

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that the United States welcomed 6.8 million international visitors(1)(2) in May 2015-505,000 more than in May 2014-an eight percent increase in visitors. May 2015 marked the 17th consecutive month of growth in total U.S. visits since January 2014.

For the first five months of 2015, international visitation (29.8 million) was up four percent compared to the same period in 2014.


Top Inbound International Markets

  • The top inbound markets continued to be Canada and Mexico. Overnight volume from Canada totaled 1.8 million visitors in May 2015, a six percent decline (-6%) compared May 2014. At the same time, Mexico recorded 1.6 million visits to the United States, an increase of 12 percent. The United Kingdom (+23%), Japan (+13%) and Germany (+29%) rounded out the top five inbound markets.
  • In May 2015 eight of the top 10 countries posted increases in non-resident visits. Non-resident visitation from eight of the top 10 countries registered double-digit increases.
  • YTD May 2015 nine of the top 10 countries posted increases in visitation to the United States.

Top 10 Countries

Country of Residence
(Sorted on May 2015)
Percent Change May
2015 vs. 2014
Percent Change YTD May
2015 vs. 2014
Rank for YTD
May 2015
  Canada -6% -5% 1
  Mexico 12% 7% 2
  United Kingdom 23% 12% 3
  Japan 13% 2% 4
  Germany 29% 14% 7
  People's Republic of China (EXCL HK) 23% 19% 5
  Brazil 0% 3% 6
  France 12% 4% 9
  India 21% 20% 11
  South Korea 29% 22% 8

Regional Markets

  • All nine(4) major overseas regional markets recorded increases in non-resident visits to the United States during May 2015: Western Europe (+20%), Asia (+18%), South America (+3%), Oceania (+19%), the Caribbean (+11%), Middle East (+8%), Eastern Europe (+2%), Central America (+11%), and Africa (+8%)
  • YTD May 2015 only one major regional market recorded a decrease-Eastern Europe (-7%).

Non-Resident Visits from Overseas(5) Countries

  • May 2015 non-resident visits from overseas countries (3.5 million) were up 15 percent over the same period in 2014.
  • In May 2015 travel from overseas markets accounted for 50 percent of total arrivals to the United States.
  • YTD May 2015 overseas resident visits (14.0 million) were up nine percent compared to the first five months of 2014.

Top Ports: YTD May 2015

  • YTD May 2015 visitation through the top 15 ports of entry accounted for 85.4 percent of all overseas visits compared to 84.5 percent in 2014.
  • The top three ports (New York [JFK], Miami, and Los Angeles) accounted for 41.5 percent of all overseas arrivals compared to 41.8 percent in 2014.
  • Fourteen of the top 15 ports recorded increases in arrivals in the first five months of 2015. Nine of these ports recorded double-digit increases.

Pleasure Travel vs. Business Travel: YTD May 2015

  • During the first five months of 2015, of the top 20 overseas countries with visits to the United States, more than 90 percent of the visits recorded from Brazil (91%), Argentina (92%) and Ecuador (93%) represented pleasure travel to the United States. On the contrary, 25 percent or more of the visits recorded from Germany (26%), Italy (25%) and the Netherlands (29%) represented business travel to the United States.
  • During the first five months of 2015 for all overseas non-resident visits to the United States, 79.0 percent represented pleasure travel and 17.1 percent represented business travel.

Access to NTTO Data
The National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) collects, analyzes and disseminates international travel and tourism statistics from the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System. NTTO produces visitation data tables, including more detailed regional, country and port analyses. To access these data, you are encouraged to visit the NTTO monthly arrivals page at https://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2015-I-001/index.html.

National Travel and Tourism Strategy
In 2012 a Task Force on Travel Competitiveness, co-chaired by the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of the Interior, developed the National Travel and Tourism Strategy to promote domestic and international travel opportunities throughout the United States and increase the United States’ market share of worldwide travel. The Tourism Policy Council, chaired by the Department of Commerce, is leading the implementation of the National Strategy through inter-agency working groups, including a Research Working Group chaired by NTTO. The I-94 Program supports the National Strategy’s call for expanded metrics on international travel to the United States. I-94 automation further supports this initiative as it greatly improves the measurement of international visitation data to the United States. To learn more about the National Strategy, you are encouraged to visit https://travel.trade.gov/pdf/national-travel-and-tourism-strategy.pdf. For more information on I-94 automation, please visit http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94-instructions.

(1) This report integrates the volume of inbound international visitors to the United States from residents of other countries using three U.S. and international government sources: the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Customs and Border Protection I-94 arrivals program data, Statistics Canada’s International Travel Survey and Banco de Mexico travel data.

(2) 2014 and 2015 arrivals data include a technical-processing change that increases the 1+ night visitor counts for overseas countries compared to previous years (prior to 2014). This processing change does not impact Canada or Mexico visitor counts. Also, the 2014 and 2015 arrivals data include a methodology change where the Country of Citizenship is used as a substitute for those I-94 records with missing Country of Residence data. I-94 arrivals monthly data is released as preliminary data, with these data subject to revisions that may be possible with improved solutions and/or sources discovered during the reported calendar year. For more information about these changes to the monthly I-94 arrivals program, visit the NTTO website at: https://travel.trade.gov/research/programs/i94/description.html.

(3) Throughout this report, percent changes posted for international visits to the United States for percent changes posted for year to date 2015 were calculated by comparing data for January - May 2015 to data for January - May 2014. Also, percent changes for May 2015 were calculated by comparing data in May 2015 to data in May 2014.

(4) The nine major overseas regions are: Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Oceania, South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

(5) Overseas includes all countries except Canada and Mexico.