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February 27, 2012

U.S. International Travel for Calendar Year 2011

U.S. citizen outbound market totaled 58.5 million travelers for 2011

Annual Market Share
U.S. travel to overseas (1) markets reached 27.0 million, a 46 percent share of all U.S. outbound international travel. U.S. citizen air traffic totals to the following regions:

  • Europe was 10.8 million visitors, with an 19 percent share;
  • Caribbean was 6.0 million, with an 10 percent share;
  • Asia was 4.1 million, with a seven percent share;
  • Central America was 2.2 million, with a four percent share;
  • South America was 1.7 million, with a three percent share;
  • Middle East was 1.3 million, with a two percent share;
  • Oceania was 505,000, with a one percent share; and
  • Africa was 366,000, with a one percent share.

North American markets received 54 percent of all U.S. international outbound travel.

  • U.S. travel to Mexico was 19.9 million visitors, with a 34 percent share (5.5 million traveled by air); and
  • Canada was 11.6 million, with a 20 percent share (3.5 million traveled by air).

Second Half (July-December) Year-over-Year (2011/2010) Comparisons

U.S. travel to overseas markets was up three percent in the second half of 2011. Regional results were:

  • Europe + 3 percent
  • Caribbean + 2 percent
  • Asia + 5 percent
  • Central America + 7 percent
  • South America down 2 percent
  • Middle East + 7 percent
  • Oceania was flat
  • Africa was down 5 percent

U.S. travel to North American markets was down three percent. Border country results were:

  • Mexico down three percent with the air markets up 1 percent.
  • Canada down 2 percent and the air markets were flat.

Total U.S. outbound travel in December was 5.1 million, up six percent. Travel to Asia and Central America were up 11 percent each. Travel to Mexico and Europe was up 10 percent and six percent, respectively.

For detail information and data tables please visit: http://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2011-O-001/index.html

As previously reported, methodological changes in tallying U.S. international travel statistics were made in July 2010. Having moved from the paper-based manually processed DHS I-92 form to the paperless automated Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) made the first half 2011 vs. 2010 comparisons difficult. This is due to how citizenship is recorded, which is more accurate since July 2010. The anomaly carried forward through the second quarter of 2011. Improvements under APIS include an electronic document system (eliminates keypunching from hard-to-read paper documents), rigorous accountability for all international flights and port-to-port detail now available on the U.S. - Canadian market. Also, monthly air travel data will now be available soon after month-end.

For background information on the restructuring of U.S. international travel data, please link to: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/tinews/archive/tinews2011/20110927.html and http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/tinews/archive/tinews2011/20110630_US_Intrenational_Outbound.html

OTTI now reports total U.S. outbound travel by month. Total travel (all modes) to Canada and Mexico is provided along with their traditional air-only subtotals.

Thank you for your patience during the transition period as this program was totally re-engineered, by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Commerce. We look forward to making continued enhancements to this program.

U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI)
1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 1015A
Washington, D.C. 20230
Phone: (202) 482-0140
Website: www.tinet.ita.doc.gov
Email: otti@trade.gov

(1) Overseas markets reflect non-stop air-only data. A portion of the non-stop passenger traffic to i.e., Europe will not visit Europe, but will connect through one of Europe's airline hubs (LHR, AMS, FRA, CDG, MAD, etc.) to Africa and the Middle East. The adjustment to these regions, reflecting visitation (1+ nights), occurs after year-end data is compiled.