Top Destinations Visited Analysis 2000

In 2000, travel to the United States by overseas visitors (which includes all countries except Canada and Mexico) increased to a record 26.0 million, or up 6% over 1999. Among the top 20 states/territories 17 of the destinations saw increases in their number of visitors. Likewise, 15 of the top 20 cities also saw increases in their overseas visitation. While overall the news is very good for the states and cities, if you look at the visitation patterns by country, there are a few markets in which declines to the country also had an impact on travel to specific destinations. Among the top 20 arrival markets to the country in 2000, the following markets saw declines: Germany (down 10%), Italy (down 2%), Switzerland (down 3%), and Spain (down 1%). In addition, some of the changes in visitation are also due to shifts in the countries that generate the arrivals to the country and these destinations. Furthermore, there are other shifts in some of the key traveler characteristics that have also had an impact on the destination visited by overseas travelers. When Tourism Industries reports visitation estimates for the states and cities it includes all travelers who visited each destination. This includes business and leisure visitors, travelers visiting friends and relatives, those on a package and traveling independently. This analysis if offered to explain some of the changes in visitation patterns related to which world regions and countries generated visitors to the states and cities.

States/Territories Visited:

In 2000, California maintained its top state visited ranking by overseas travelers (6.4 million), again surpassing Florida which hosted over 6.0 million visitors. California and Florida have traded places over the years as the top destination. Over the past decade, California was the top state visited in 1990, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2000. Florida was the top state visited in 1992, 1993, 1995, and 1998.

Being the top state is the result of numerous factors. One of the factors is the composition of the travel market that visits each state. If you follow the growth or declines in arrivals to the United States by the world region and country-of-residency, you will see similar changes in a state's or city's visitation volume. If a particular destination depends upon its visitors from countries that have seen increases in arrivals to the United States, chances are they too have seen growth. In contrast, if arrivals from a particular country decline, chances are, the destinations that rely upon these countries for their visitors will also see declines.

For example, while California and Florida are relatively close in terms of the share of Western European visitors, the big difference occurs from the other top regions generating visitors to these two states. California relies upon Asia (2.5 million, up 13%), Western Europe (2.4 million, down 11%), Oceania (444,000, up 14%), and South America (341,000 down 6%) as the top generators of visitors to the state. As TI's regional profiles show, visitors from Asia and Western Europe dominate California's visitation totals. Visitation from Asia grew between 1999 and 2000 offsetting the declines in visitation from Western Europe to position Asia as the top region of residence for travelers to the state. In contrast, however, Western European arrivals to the United States in 2000 were up 3%. Asian travel to the country saw a 9% increase, and travel from Oceania was up 10%. Arrivals from South America to the U.S. were also up 8% in 2000 over 1999. So, although California's growth rates for Asia and Oceania were greater than the national average. The state saw declines in visitation from these two world regions, Western Europe and South America, which had increased overall for the U.S. Overall, California only had a 2% growth rate over 1999 considerably less than the 6% growth for the nation and reflective of the declines experienced in Western Europe and South America.

Florida relies upon Western Europe (2.9 million, up 7%), South America (1.8 million, up 15%), the Caribbean (642,000, down 22%), and Central America to generate visitors to the state (due to low sample sizes, an estimate for Central America is not available for 2000). Travelers from Western Europe and South America dominate the visitation to Florida. Arrivals from all four regions of the world increased in the number of arrivals to the United States. Florida saw its hosting of Western European visitors grow are a rate double that of the country between 2000 and 1999. South American visitation to Florida as nearly doubles that of the national growth rate. A major decline in visitation from the Caribbean, and a slight decline from Asia contributed to Florida experiencing an increase of 4% over 1999, lower than the national average.

This analysis could be reviewed for other destinations and be conducted by country or other world regions by going to the Inbound Travel to the US on TI's web site. Here, travelers' profiles of nine world regions and 16 overseas countries are provided at no cost. To view the free world region or market profiles, click on the region or country of interest. Once you are within the page you want, scroll down until you see the regional or market profile for the market of interest. Click on it and view it for free.

The other top 10 states/territories visited were: New York (5.9 million), Hawaii (2.7 million), Nevada (2.4 million), Massachusetts (1.4 million), Illinois (1.4 million), Guam (1.3 million), Texas (1.2 million), and New Jersey (909,000) garnered the tenth spot according to the 2000 In-Flight Survey on Overseas Travelers to the United States data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Tourism Industries.

Who were the other top states visited in 2000? If you go to TI's web site States Visited Table you can see all of the state and territory visitation estimates for overseas travelers where sample permits. Estimates are available for 36 states/territories in 2000. By going to the Inbound Travel to the US, you can see the world region and country visitation estimates for the states in 1999 and 2000.

Cities/Islands Visited:

Tourism Industries also provides estimates for destinations (cities and islands) visited. Estimates for overseas visitation for 2000 are provided for 58 destinations. The market share and volume estimates for 1999-2000 can be viewed on TI's web site Cities Visited Table.

The table will show that overseas travelers visited such top destinations as the New York City (5.7 million), Los Angeles (3.5 million), Orlando (3.0 million), Miami (2.9 million), San Francisco (2.8 million), Las Vegas (2.3 million), Honolulu (2.2 million), Washington, DC (1.5 million), Chicago (1.4 million), and Boston (1.3 million).

New York City and Los Angeles have held the number one and two position for many years. The third through fifth most popular destinations have switched over time, with Miami having held the third spot since 1993. But in 2000, Orlando surpassed Miami to become the third most visited destination because Orlando's growth rate (+5%) was double that of Miami's. Orlando saw increases in its Western European visitation, particularly in the British market (+13%). Furthermore, Orlando saw a growth rate that was triple that of Miami for South American visitation, even though, Orlando's visitation volume from this region was less than one half of Miami's. Miami saw its South American visitation grow at a rate slightly slower than the national average, primarily because of declines in visitation from Venezuela. Miami did see double digit growth from Western European visitors, but its visitation volume from this region is almost one half that of Orlando's. The slower growth in Miami's main source for overseas visitors (South America), and double digit declines in Caribbean visitation to the city were the main reasons for Miami's slower growth in 2000. San Francisco reached the number five spot in 2000 while for the second straight year, Las Vegas was ranked sixth for visitation by overseas travelers. Honolulu had been in the sixth position since 1991, but in 1999 declined to the seventh most popular destination. Washington DC has been ranked eighth since 1993, but because of its decline in visitation in 1999, was tied with Chicago. In 2000, the nation's capital saw a 14% increase in its visitation and because of slightly slower growth in travel to Chicago, Washington DC reclaimed its eighth place ranking. Over the years, Chicago and Boston have traded positions much like Florida and California have over time, but this year Chicago again edged out Boston to claim the ninth place ranking in 2000. Boston rounds out the top 10 cities for visitation by overseas travelers in 2000. All 10 cities generated at least 1.3 million visitors in 2000.

Tourism Industries (TI) would like to encourage you to visit the Inbound Travel to the U.S. page on TI's web site and review the free region and market profiles provided. To find them, click on each region or country of interest and scroll down until you find the regional or market profile. Once you click on the market profiles, please review the information for the shifts reported in the traveler characteristics, it will help further explain some of the changes.

Furthermore, by viewing the other traveler characteristics provided in the free market profiles, one can determine why some of the changes occurred in the markets. TI also provides information on: the purpose of trip, the percentage of first time visitors, what portion of the market used a package, the type of transportation used while in the country, average length of the trip, per day spending, and the average number of states visited. Shifts in any of these variables at the national and destination level will have an impact on the visitation patterns for the states and cities.

While the information on the web site provides some of the answers, there is additional information available from Tourism Industries. TI sells an In-Flight Survey on Overseas Travelers to the United States. In the 1999 and 2000 reports there are actually 35 different traveler characteristics reported. These tables can be compared against 10 world regions and 14 countries. The countries broken out include: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Japan, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Singapore, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela. The diversity of the international travelers to the U.S. can best be illustrated by the differences among the traveler characteristics data collected in this survey. The responses by these visitors related to key traveler characteristics that are needed by travel planners to assist them in understanding what the traveler wants.

For the major destinations, developing a custom run for a fee, of the survey respondents for your state or city can provide additional insights. Once you receive your custom report TI would like to encourage you to compare your destination results to the overall travel characteristics to visitors to the United States reported in the 1999 and 2000 In-Flight Survey on Overseas Travelers to the United States. This analysis will provide more detailed information on the changes in the market locally compared to the national level. By comparing your results to the national average you will have data that illustrates what happened in your market differently than in the travel that occurred to the country. These differences will hopefully help explain the changes in your visitation estimates. They will also assist you in differentiating your destination from others visited. By knowing what makes you unique, you can develop targeted marketing campaigns to attract visitors to your destination.