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Date: Fri, 12 March 2004
From: TInews Announcement <announce@tinet.ita.doc.gov>
To: TInews Announcement <tiannounce@tinet.ita.doc.gov>
Subject: December 2003 International Arrivals to the U.S. – Year Ends on an Up Note(Revised)

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

March 12, 2004

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

December 2003 International Arrivals to the U.S. – Year Ends on an Up Note.(Revised)

The U.S. welcomed 3.0 million international visitors in December, a one percent increase over December 2002. This marked the third consecutive month of positive growth in 2003 and contributed to a 4th quarter increase of three percent. Annual arrivals totaled 40.4 million with a growth rate of negative four percent, reaching the OTTI forecast level for 2003. (Note: To some degree, the March trough and November peak were due to the different holiday dates year over year – refer to in-depth analysis section.)



The results for 2003 showed progressive improvement over 2002 and 2001 that had declined seven percent and twelve percent, respectively.

Most regions improved, as follows:

  • Overseas arrivals (not including Canada and Mexico) totaled 1.7 million in December, up over four percent. Three consecutive months of positive growth contributed to a three percent increase for the 4th quarter. Annual visitations of 18.0 million were down by less than six percent, a one basis point improvement over November year-to-date totals.
  • Western Europe was up over four percent for the month and five percent for the quarter. Annual arrivals of 8.3 million increased by nearly one percent.
  • Asian visitation grew eight percent during the month, the strongest performance among all major regions. Also, the 4th quarter improved by almost two percent. Annual 2003 arrivals of 5.0 million, although down 12 percent, showed a two basis point improvement over November’s year-to-date decline.
  • Other overseas regions experiencing growth were: Eastern Europe, up two percent, Africa, up nearly six percent, Oceania, up almost 11 percent and the Caribbean, up six percent. South and Central America, however, declined by three percent each. Arrivals from the Middle East dropped by two percent.
  • North American (Canada and Mexico) arrivals, however, declined for the month (see below).

Salient top market results are as follows:

  • Canadian arrivals dropped by two percent in December, yet managed to post a three percent increase for the 4th quarter. Annual visitation of 12.7 million was down two percent, about the same as November year-to-date.
  • Arrivals from Mexico (those documented by the I-94) fell by five percent for the month. Due to a strong November, the 4th quarter still recorded a one percent gain. Annual visitation, registered at 3.8 million, was down by two percent.
  • Japanese visitors totaled 323,000, up nearly 11 percent in December, the strongest monthly performance among major countries. The 4th quarter was up three percent, the first positive quarter of the calendar year. Annual arrivals of 3.2 million were down by nearly 13 percent, yet this was a two basis point improvement from November year-to-date totals.
  • United Kingdom visitation increased by nearly three percent in December, with 361,000 arrivals. This marked the 10th monthly increase in 2003. The 4th quarter was up five percent. Annual arrivals of 3.9 million were up three percent.
  • German visitors to the U.S. increased by four percent for the month. The 4th quarter, up five percent, was the first positive quarter of the year. Annual arrivals of nearly 1.2 million were down by less than one percent.
  • In December, significant (double-digit) growth also occurred in travel originating from Spain, Sweden, Australia and Brazil, with increases of 20 percent, 15 percent, 12 percent and 17 percent, respectively. On an annual basis, arrivals from Spain were up five percent, from Sweden up nearly four percent and down 14 percent from Brazil. Australian visitation was flat year-over-year.
  • Other top overseas growth markets in December such as France, registered a two percent increase with two consecutive months of positive growth since February. Italy, notched up eight percent, Switzerland, grew by three percent and PRC/Hong Kong increased almost four percent, improving on its gain from last month. Arrivals from South Korea increased by three percent, springing back from its 16 percent drop in November. And the ROC (Taiwan) visitation improved by one percent.

To access the monthly arrivals tables for the 11 world regions and 19 countries of residence, please go to: 2003 Monthly Arrivals to the United States - Table C

For a more in-depth analysis of arrivals by regions, top countries and top ports for December, 4th quarter and annual 2003 please go to International Arrivals to the United States - Fourth Quarter and Annual 2003.


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:

If you would like to purchase the monthly international arrivals reports for 2002 and 2003, please go to:

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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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