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Date: Wed, 9 July 2003
From: TInews Announcement <announce@tinet.ita.doc.gov>
To: TInews Announcement <tiannounce@tinet.ita.doc.gov>

April 2003 International Arrivals Data – SARS Impact

=== TINEWS ===================================

An information service from Office of Travel & Tourism Industries
U.S. International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

July 9, 2003

April 2003 International Arrivals Data – SARS Impact

Contact: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries
E-mail: otti@trade.gov
Web: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov
Phone: (202) 482-0140, Fax: (202) 482-2887

The U.S. faced several challenges through the first four months of 2003. The Iraqi War began in mid-March and effectively ended in mid-to-late April, although considerable concern of war loomed throughout the first quarter. Just as the war in Iraq was winding down new concerns for travel arose. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a respiratory illness with pneumonia-like symptoms quickly took over the headlines and further curtailed travel, especially from Asian markets. Lingering concerns about sluggish economies and the ongoing war on terrorism also combined to contribute to the overall drop in arrivals to the U.S. for April 2003.

- International travel to the U.S. in April 2003 (total overseas, Canada, and Mexico) contracted 6 percent to 2.6 million arrivals, compared to 2.8 million arrivals reported for April 2002.

- Asian arrivals to the U.S. contracted 39 percent in April, compared to April 2002 arrivals, which was on the heels of a 23 percent decline registered in March 2003. Japan registered the largest drop in arrivals in April (for the top 25 markets) – arrivals contracted 41 percent to 148,093 arrivals, compared to April 2002.

- Arrivals from South Korea also registered a sharp decline in April, down 26 percent to 33,606 arrivals, compared to April 2002. Australian arrivals registered a contraction in April; however, the decline was not as severe as Japan and South Korea. Arrivals from Australia contracted 11 percent to 27,971 arrivals.

- According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the following countries suffered the worst exposure to the SARS outbreak: China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Canada. Each of these markets registered a severe drop in travel to the U.S. in April 2003. The impact of SARS is evident, however each of these markets also registered declines in March and most registered declines in February as well – indicating that the drop in arrivals is a combination of economic, political, and SARS related concerns that dissuaded travelers.

Key SARS Markets 2003 Arrivals    Percent Change 2003/2003
Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr.
TAIWAN 29,945 16,304 14,003 9,451 9.0% -23.8% -24.3% -46.8%
CHINA, PRC 18,005 13,129 10,760 7,035 -8.9% -13.6% -31.3% -60.6%
HONG KONG 13,705 7,881 6,588 4,443 17.9% -31.4% -33.5% -46.3%
SINGAPORE 7,546 5,313 5,271 2,715 4.3% -2.6% -18.7% -61.2%
CANADA 863,767 770,967 1,144,466 980,655 4.8% 1.7% -5.7% -11.1%


- The impact on visitor arrivals from SARS was not registered in every top market in April. Arrivals from the United Kingdom increased 10 percent to 356,120 arrivals in April 2003, compared to April 2002. German arrivals in April also grew (up 6 % to 98,438 arrivals) and arrivals from Mexico grew 62 percent to 381,035 arrivals; air arrivals from Mexico were only up 29 percent.

- To access the monthly arrivals data that provides arrival totals and percent change for 11 world regions and 19 countries go to: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/view/m-2003-I-001/index.html.

- The OTTI will continue to monitor and report on the arrivals for the key SARS markets to help discern the impact during and after the breakout.

- In late July, OTTI will release results on the impact of SARS from the Travel Barometer program for the UK, Germany, and Brazil. The summary report will review second quarter bookings and travel demand, and predict the impact on summer (3rd quarter) and fourth quarter travel. To obtain more information on the Travel Barometer go to: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/recovery.


- Arrivals at the top 15 ports-of-entry for January-April 2003 show that while total overseas arrivals (overseas excludes Canada and Mexico) for the first four months were down 10 percent, the declines to the country are not the same when viewed at the port level. New York’s (JFK) Airport, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Chicago, Newark, Detroit, Boston and Dallas all had declines that were less than the national average. Orlando’s International Airport was the only top port of entry that posted an increase in overseas arrivals for the first four months. In contrast, Agana, Guam posted a 33 percent decline in arrivals. Arrivals at the major ports of entry will have an impact on overseas visitation to the states and cities that rely upon these ports to generate visitors to their respective destinations. To see the top ports table, please visit the 2003 monthly arrivals section of the OTTI web site at: https://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2003-I-001/index.html

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 over 40 ports-of-entry. Numerous breakouts are provided by world region and country for the port tables as well. To learn more about this program, please go to: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/research/programs/i94/index.html.

If you would like to purchase the monthly international arrival reports for 2002 and 2003, please go to: https://travel.trade.gov/research/reports/i94/upcoming/index.html


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Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 7025

Washington, D.C. 20230
(202) 482-0140, fax: (202) 482-2887
e-mail: otti@trade.gov

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