International Arrivals to the United States For March and First Quarter 2005

The U.S. welcomed over 9 million international visitors in the first quarter of 2005, garnering a 12.7 percent increase with respect to the first quarter of 2004. The month of March, up significantly from last year, marked the eighteenth consecutive month in which an increase in total arrivals occurred.

This significant increase in total international arrivals to the U.S.—which includes overseas, Canada and Mexico—continued the positive trend that has been visible for the last year and a half.  The most noteworthy increase came in March with a 21.4 percent improvement from last year, likely due in large part to the Easter holidays falling at the end of the month rather than in April.  January and February also saw growth of 9.9 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.

Total International Arrivals

The increase in overseas arrivals (which excludes Canada and Mexico) again played an integral role in the overall increase of international tourism. Overseas arrivals totaled 4.68 million in the first quarter, up 10 percent from 2004.

Overseas Arrivals

Aside from the Middle East, which saw a slight decrease of visitation in the first quarter, all other world regions experienced growth for the time period.  Notable increases came from Oceania (12.1 percent), Western Europe (12.3 percent) and the Caribbean (16.1 percent), among others.  Arrivals from Western Europe totaled 896,898 for March, up 16 percent from 2004, and the quarter saw an increase of 12 percent with 2.1 million visitors.  The U.K. and Germany remained as the major contributors from the region.

Asian travelers totaled 490,680 for March (up six percent) with 1.42 million arrivals for the quarter (up five percent). Japan once again played a considerable role in the tourism market for the U.S., as visitations in the first quarter approached the million mark at 934,423.

South America, which in 2004 saw its first positive quarter since 2001, built on that progress and registered another positive quarter this year with an 11 percent increase from 2004.  Venezuela and Colombia, two markets in which large declines or modest increases have been the norm in recent years, both experienced significant gains of 16.3 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively, for the quarter.

The remaining world regions continued to show improvement in the first quarter.

Travelers from:

#Arrivals – Q1

% Change 05/04

March 05 -- Comments

Eastern Europe



Ukraine up 25.9%




Nigeria up 13.6%

Central America



Costa Rica up 49.3%




Dominican Republic up 79.5%

Top Visitor Markets:

Top 20 markets in order of 2003 rankings based on the number of arrivals.


In March nearly 1.5 million Canadians visited the U.S., a 14 percent increase from 2004. Arrivals totaled 3.39 million for the first quarter, an 11 percent increase.

Canadaian Arrivals


In March 489,806 Mexicans visited the U.S. ‘interior’, a dramatic increase of 103.4 percent. For the quarter, there were 946,527 arrivals, an increase of 40 percent.

Mexican Arrivals
(U.S. *Interior is North of the 40-kilometer border zone in the U.S.)

United Kingdom:

U.K. visitation totaled 425,232 in March, surging 13 percent.  For the first quarter of 2005, arrivals totaled 989,750, an increase of nine percent.  The U.K. accounted for 46 percent of all arrivals from Western Europe in the first quarter.

UK Arrivals


Japanese visitors totaled 330,898 in March, up nearly five percent from last year. The first quarter saw an increase of 3.4 percent.  Some 934,423 Japanese tourists accounted for nearly two-thirds of all Asian visitors.

Japanese Arrivals


German visitation climbed 13 percent in March, totaling 131,354. There were slightly fewer than 300,000 arrivals for the first quarter, which translates to an increase of nearly 13 percent from 2004.

German Arrivals


Arrivals to the U.S. from France totaled 57,402 in March, up 10 percent. The first quarter grew by twelve percent to a total of 173,287 visitors.

South Korea:

March and first quarter arrivals totaled 45,616 and 161,628 for South Korea, up 4.5 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.


Australian arrivals totaled 41,461 for March (22 percent increase), and 117,069 for the quarter (13 percent increase).


The first quarter of 2005 increased 18.7 percent to give a total of 107,330 arrivals. There were 31,766 visitors in March, up 27 percent.


Italian travelers totaled 39,437 in March, up 18 percent from last year.  First quarter arrivals totaled 101,997, bettering the same period of 2004 by 13 percent.


The U.S. hosted 30,000 visitors from the Netherlands in March, remaining virtually the same as in 2004. Quarter arrivals increased by a modest 2.3% with 84,443 Dutch visitors.

PRC & Hong Kong:

The U.S. welcomed 27,691 visitors from the PRC/Hong Kong in March, up eight percent from 2004. The first quarter registered 88,487 arrivals, registering an improvement of 13 percent.

Taiwan (ROC):

Arrivals from Taiwan in March totaled almost 20,000 visitors, up six percent.  While January saw a decrease of 13.9%, February more than compensated by bringing in a total of 22,622, or an increase of 32%. 69,149 arrivals were totaled for the quarter, bettering last year by 3.5 percent.


Over 36,000 visitors came to the U.S. from the “Emerald Isle” in March, an improvement of 21 percent. The first quarter saw a 32 percent increase with over 87,000 arrivals.


March arrivals, recorded at 36,324, were up 52 percent from 2004. Just over 77,000 visitors were noted for the quarter, a 23 percent improvement.


Arrivals from India totaled 23,616 for March and 66,480 for the quarter, increases of 10 percent and nine percent, respectively.

TOP PORTS First Quarter 2005

In addition to tracking arrivals to the country on a monthly basis, OTTI also has data on arrivals for over 40 ports of entry by all world regions and 30 countries. A brief analysis is presented on the top 15 ports for overseas arrivals in 2005.

Arrivals at the top 15 ports of entry again totaled 87 percent of all overseas arrivals in the first quarter of 2005. Top port overseas arrivals for the quarter were up nearly 10 percent from 2004 – roughly matching the increase in overseas arrivals.  New York replaced Miami as the top port of entry while Los Angeles, Honolulu and Newark rounded out the top five for the quarter.  The top three ports matched last year by accounting for 38 percent of all overseas arrivals.

All of the top fifteen ports registered increases in arrivals. Honolulu and Detroit reversed last year’s decreases with improvements of eight percent and one percent, respectively. Atlanta experienced the most substantial increase at 21 percent, while Newark jumped up three spots to fifth in port arrivals with an increase of 18 percent from 2004.

To access top port activity, go to:

Further Information:

The above analysis is a synopsis of the world regions and the top markets generating arrivals to the United States.  Arrival statistics for the top countries and world regions may be accessed on-line from the monthly section of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) web site at:

Once on this page, there are numerous links to tables that provide arrivals for the top arrival markets to the United States.  Please take a look at each of the links available. 

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, countries and for the port tables as well.  To learn more about this program, please go to:

If you would like to purchase the monthly international arrival reports for 2004, please go to: