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June 05, 2009

International Visitation Down 20 Percent In March 2009

Spending: $9.9 Billion In March - $30.6 Billion In First 3 Months

First Quarter Arrivals 14 Percent Below Last Year

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that 3.8 million international visitors traveled to the United States in March 2009, a decrease of 20 percent compared to March 2008.  Total visitation in the first quarter 2009 was down 14 percent from the first quarter 2008.  International visitors spent $9.9 billion during the month, 16 percent less than visitors spent in March 2008.  March 2009 marks the fifth consecutive month of decreases in international visitors spending.  In first quarter 2009, visitors spent $30.6 billion, down 12 percent from the same period in 2008. 

Part of the decline in March 2009 was expected since the Easter holidays occurred in March 2008.  In 2009, the Easter holidays were in April. 

Highlights(1) (2)

  • In March 2009, Canadian visitation declined 13 percent compared to March 2008 (seven months of consecutive decreases).  At the same time, land arrivals (1 million) decreased 16 percent and air arrivals (680,000) decreased nine percent.  In the first quarter 2009, visitation from Canada decreased 12 percent, with land arrivals (2.2 million) down 14 percent and air arrivals (1.8 million) down nine percent.   
  • Visitation from Mexico (traveling to interior U.S. points) totaled 380,000, down 43 percent in March 2009 (ten months of consecutive decreases).  For the month, land arrivals (287,000) decreased 42 percent and air arrivals (91,000) declined 46 percent.  Overall, traffic for the first quarter 2009 was down 26 percent with land arrivals (844,000) down 24 percent and air arrivals (265,000) decreasing 33 percent.
  • Overseas visitation (excluding Canada and Mexico) decreased 19 percent in March 2009 (five months of consecutive decreases) and 13 percent year-to-date.

  • In March 2009, three of the top 20 countries posted increases in visitation to the United States, with visitation from Israel growing at a double-digit growth rate.
    • French arrivals to the United States increased one percent in March 2009.
    • Argentine arrivals were nearly flat, increasing 0.4 percent in March 2009, barely continuing its growth trend from August 2006 (32 months of consecutive increases).
    • Israeli arrivals were up 15 percent for the month.
  • In the first quarter 2009, four of the top 20 countries posted increases in visitation to the United States, with visitation from Argentina growing at a double-digit growth rate.
    • French visitation increased one percent in the first quarter 2009.  At the same time, Brazilian visitation to the United States increased six percent; Chinese visitation increased nine percent; and Argentine visitation increased 10 percent.

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OVERSEAS VISITATION

  • U.S. visitation from the 27 European Union countries declined 23 percent in March 2009 and dropped 17 percent from the first quarter 2008.
  • U.S. visits from Western Europe, 776,000 visitors, accounting for 46 percent of all overseas arrivals, were down 24 percent in March 2009.  Year-to-date, arrivals decreased 18 percent and accounted for 43 percent of all overseas visitors.
    • U.S. visits from the United Kingdom, 278,000 visitors, were down 31 percent in March 2009 (seven months of consecutive decreases).  Year-to-date, visitation from the United Kingdom dropped 26 percent.  For the month and year-to-date, visitors from the United Kingdom accounted for 36 percent of all Western European arrivals.   
    • German visits were down 18 percent for the month (three months of consecutive decreases) and down 15 percent year-to-date.  At the same time, French arrivals increased one percent in March 2009 and grew one percent in the first quarter 2009.
    • Italian visitation was down 12 percent in March 2009, and down five percent year-to-date 2009.  Visitors from Spain and the Netherlands were down 32 percent (three months of consecutive decreases) and 10 percent (five months of consecutive decreases), respectively, for the month and down 20 percent and 10 percent for the year.
    • Visitation from Ireland decreased 37 percent for the month and 25 percent for the year.  Visitors from Sweden and Switzerland were down 31 percent and 16 percent, respectively, for the month and down 22 percent and nine percent for the year.
  • Eastern European visits were up one percent for the month, and up two percent for the year.  Russian visitation decreased seven percent for the month, while remaining at one percent up for the year. 
  • Visitation from Asia decreased 12 percent in both March 2009 and in the first quarter 2009.
    • Japanese visits were nine percent below the March 2008 visitor levels, and down 11 percent in the first quarter 2009.  Japan accounted for 60 percent of all Asian visitors for the month and 57 percent of Asian visitors in the first quarter 2009.
    • In March 2009, visitation from South Korea, India, and the People’s Republic of China declined 17 percent, 14 percent, and five percent, respectively.  Year-to-date, arrivals from South Korea and India declined 20 percent and 14 percent, respectively.  In the first quarter 2009, arrivals from the People’s Republic of China increased nine percent.
    • Taiwanese visitation dropped 20 percent for the month and was down 21 percent year-to-date.
  • U.S. visitation from South America decreased 14 percent in March 2009 and two percent in the first quarter 2009.
    • Brazilian visitation was down 10 percent for the month, but remained up six percent in the first quarter.  Brazil is the top visitation market from South America; and in the first quarter 2009 accounted for 34 percent of visits from the region.  U.S. visits from Argentina were flat in March 2009 and grew 10 percent for the year.
    • U.S. visitation from Venezuela decreased 24 percent in March 2009 and declined 14 percent for the year.  Colombian visits decreased 32 percent for the month and dropped 17 percent year-to-date.
  • Central American visits decreased 19 percent in March 2009 and dropped 11 percent for the year.
  • U.S. visitation from the Caribbean declined 29 percent in March 2009 and dropped 11 percent in the first quarter. 
    • Visitation from the Dominican Republic, the top visitation market from the Caribbean region, decreased 32 percent in March 2009 and declined 20 percent in the first quarter.
    • In March 2009, there was an eight percent decrease in visits from the Bahamas.  Year-to-date, visits increased 38 percent.
  • Travel from Oceania decreased 14 percent in March 2009 and 15 percent year-to-date.
    • Australia registered a 15 percent decrease for the month and a 16 percent decrease year-to-date.  Australia accounted for 83 percent of all visits from Oceania in the first quarter 2009.
  • U.S. visitation from the Middle East increased eight percent in March 2009 and was flat year-to-date.
    • Israeli visitation to the United States increased 15 percent in March 2009 and dropped four percent year-to-date.
  • U.S. visitation from Africa decreased 12 percent in March 2009 and declined seven percent from the first quarter 2008.

 
To access the 2009 monthly arrivals data for world regions and top markets, visit
http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/view/m-2009-I-001/index.html

TOP PORTS:  Year-to-Date March 2009

In the first quarter 2009, overseas visits (excluding Canada and Mexico) dropped 13 percent.  Visitation through the top 15 ports of entry accounted for 87 percent of all overseas visits, almost one percentage-point higher than last year.

The top three ports of entry (New York JFK, Miami and Los Angeles) accounted for 40 percent of all overseas arrivals, up 1.4 percentage-points from the first quarter 2008.
 
Fourteen of the top fifteen ports posted decreases in arrivals in the first three months of 2009.  Arrivals decreased by double digits through eight of the ports.

In the first quarter 2009, visitation through the Newark airport decreased 19 percent, moving it into fifth position behind Honolulu.  Travel through San Francisco decreased 19 percent, dropping it behind Agana (Guam) into seventh position.   

With arrivals through Ft. Lauderdale increasing two percent, this port moved into fourteenth position ahead of Boston.  Ft. Lauderdale, FL is the only port in the top 15 ports that posted an increase in the first quarter 2009.
  
To access top port activity, go to the OTTI monthly arrivals page above and scroll down the page until you see the yellow title bar entitled:  2009 Monthly Top Airports for Overseas Non-Resident Arrivals.  Click on the Excel file to view the monthly port figures. 

Arrivals to the United States by port-of-entry are tracked on a monthly basis.  The U.S. Department of Commerce has arrival data on more than 40 U.S. ports-of-entry from all world regions and 30 countries, with a brief analysis presented on the top 15 ports for overseas arrivals in 2009.

SOURCE:

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 United States.  The report provides data on approximately 90 countries each month and more than 40 ports of entry.  Numerous breakouts are provided by world region and country for the port tables as well.

To find out more about this program, please go to:
http://travel.trade.gov/research/programs/i94/index.html

If you would like to subscribe to the monthly international arrivals reports, please go to:
http://travel.trade.gov/research/reports/i94/index.html

U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration
Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI)
1401 Constitution Avenue N.W., Room 1003
Washington, D.C.  20230
Phone: (202) 482-0140, Fax: (202) 482-2887
http://travel.trade.gov/
Email: otti@trade.gov

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1Throughout this report, percent changes posted for March 2009 were calculated by comparing data in March 2009 to data in March 2008.  Also, percent changes posted for year-to-date 2009/first quarter 2009 were calculated by comparing data January - March 2009 to data January - March 2008.

2The U.S. Department of Commerce complies with the UN World Tourism Organization (WTO) standard definition and class of international travelers when reporting monthly and annual arrivals data.  This standard excludes all day-trippers from any of the counts/estimates, including those from Canada and Mexico.  Also, OTTI has included non-immigrant visa types ‘E’ treaty trader or investor and “I” representatives of foreign information media into the counts to more accurately reflects business visitation.