Tourism Industries International Travel and Forecast for the US -- Chart 9
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To provide some background to the forecast, I am going to review the first half year arrivals for 1998, already reflecting the economic turmoil in Asia. So far, we have seen only a one percent decline in international arrivals through June. July, however, has just come in and the decline is hovering around 3%.

Canada is the crucial marketplace to watch right now besides Asia. For the first six months of 1998, Canadian travel to the U.S. was down more than 7 percent. Conversely, U.S. resident travel to Canada rose by more than 9 percent in the first six months of 1998. During this period, 5.7 million trips were made, compared to 5.2 million from January to June 1997.

The continuing decline of the Canadian dollar, which was trading at $1.54 to the U.S. dollar in July, is anticipated to fuel the loss in Canadian arrivals throughout 1998. Summer travel is likely to be significantly curtailed to both short- and long-distance destinations. This is due in part to the exchange rate but also compounded by the month-long triple-digit heatwave in July experienced in the south and west, the Florida fires in June, and damage and flooding incurred by Hurricane Bonnie along the popular North Carolina coast. Year-to-date Canadian arrivals all the way through August of this year of one or more nights' duration are down more than 11 percent.

Meanwhile, to offset the bad news, Mexican air arrivals to the United States reached 631,000 due to double-digit growth through the first half of 1998. Combined land and air arrivals were up 10 percent, nearly offsetting the declines in overseas and Canadian arrivals, to result in a slightly negative position for total international arrivals to the United States in the first half of 1998.
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Chart 9 - 1/2 yr growth, 3 regions + total

1/2 yr growth, 3 regions + total

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