FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE || Contact: Victoria Park|
|October 21, 2003
|| (202) 482-0310|
COMMERCE FORECAST: VISITOR NUMBERS TO U.S. TO IMPROVE BY 2004
International visitor levels to the United States are expected to improve
by 2004, according to new figures released by the Commerce Department. The
latest figures were announced today at the Travel Industry Association's (TIA)
Marketing Outlook and are part of the Commerce Department's semi-annual Forecast
of International Travel to the United States.
"While the Commerce Department's latest figures show that international
visitors are continuing to regain confidence in traveling to the United States,
there is still much work to do," said Linda Conlin, Assistant Secretary
of Commerce for Trade Development. "The U.S. travel and tourism industry
has been hit hard by the declines of the past three years, and the Bush Administration
will continue to remain committed to seeing the tourism industry thrive as
a key driver of the U.S. economy."
The revised forecast projects that visitation levels to the United States
will increase by 16 percent between 2002 and 2007. Although 2003 arrivals
to the country are estimated to show a decline of four percent, the forecast
indicates an average annual growth rate of five percent for 2004 through 2006.
The growth rate is projected to level off at four percent in 2007.
The overseas markets are primarily responsible for the improved long-term
forecast. The strength of growth with markets beyond the top ten offers a
wider source of international visitors exploring the United States.
Visitors from Europe are expected to return noticeably by 2004 and beyond.
Nearly 11 million European visitors are projected to travel to the United
States in 2007 (a growth of 28 percent). The United Kingdom will maintain
its rank as the top overseas market (up 33 percent), with healthy growth from
Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Ireland.
Although Asia's recovery will continue to be slow, with an estimated fifteen
percent decline in 2003, the region is expected to grow by 12 percent to 6.4
million visitors by the end of 2007. Japan, the largest Asian market and second
overseas market, is forecasted to reach 3.9 million visitors by 2007 (up 8
percent). Strong long-term increases are estimated for South Korea (up 30
percent) and India (up 49 percent) by 2007.
South America is projected to expand by 9 percent, with the fastest growth
from Colombia and Argentina.
Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) is forecasted to outpace international
growth with a 19 percent expansion from 2002 to 2007.
Travel and tourism represents the top services export for the United States
and has produced a travel trade surplus since 1989 (over $7 billion in 2002).
For more information visit http://travel.trade.gov.