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TI News: An information service from Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI)
March 24, 2010
2009 INTERNATIONAL VISITATION FIVE PERCENT BELOW 2008
December 2009 International Arrivals Up Five Percent
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that 54.9 million international visitors traveled to the United States in 2009, a decrease of five percent from 2008. In 2009, the top inbound markets continued to be Canada and Mexico, both of which were down in arrivals along with six of the nine overseas regional markets. South America, Asia and Oceania experienced the strongest growth in the fourth quarter, due in part to increases from the emerging markets of China and Brazil.
In the month of December 2009, total visitation reached 4.1 million*, an increase of five percent over December 2008. That marked the third straight month of increased travel to the United States.
During the fourth quarter total arrivals increased two percent. That marked the first quarter to experience growth in 2009. Positive growth occurred in 15 of the top 20 arrival markets. Arrivals from Canada, Mexico and overseas were up four percent, three percent and one percent, respectively.
Annual overseas arrivals (excluding Canada and Mexico) totaled 23.8 million during 2009, down six percent from 2008. Travel from overseas markets accounted for 43 percent of total arrivals to the United States. While overseas travel was still down 9 percent from its peak in 2000, visitation from overseas markets is up 32 percent from its low in 2003. Five of the top 50 overseas markets set new visitation records: Australia, China/PRC, Colombia, Ecuador and Panama.
In 2009, seven of the top 20 arrival markets posted increases, with Brazil and Argentina registering double-digit increases. The United Kingdom and Japan were among thirteen markets which experienced declines for the year. The top 20 inbound visitor markets accounted for 89 percent of all international arrivals to the United States during 2009 and as a group it was down six percent compared to 2008.
International visitors spent $121.1 billion in 2009, down nearly 15 percent from 2008 the largest single year decline in spending for visitors to the United States. Visitors spent $10.3 billion in December 2009, eight percent less than in December 2008. December 2009 marks the 14th consecutive month in which U.S. travel and tourism-related exports were lower when compared to the same period of the previous year.
International Arrivals to United States for Yearend 2009 and December 2009:
*Mexican visitation for December and fourth quarter reflect a count of travel to the ‘U.S. Interior’ only. The annual aggregate estimate of all Mexican travelers to the United States, received from Banco de Mexico, includes all travelers.
To view the 2009 Annual Visitation Report please visit: