Tourism Industries International Travel and Forecast for the US - Chart #6
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The two percent decline in arrivals from all of the overseas regions was actually mild, considering the depth of the decline in Asia. The affects of Asia's economic faltering, which began in September 1997, were realized in 1998 as the region recorded a 13% decline in arrivals for the year. For Oceania the 6% decline is primarily attributable to Australia, which succumbed to the affects of the Asian crisis compounded by the travelers being pursued by low airfares for interregional travel and by the lure of European markets.

Western European travelers were the mainstay for staving off even larger declines in overseas arrivals with a three percent increase in arrivals. Overall these travelers contributed a five percent increase in receipts, setting a record $30.2 billion level of expenditures. Four of the top five markets reached all time records for arrivals. The United Kingdom was the star for this regional segment of travelers, growing seven percent and nearing the milestone of 4 million arrivals, closing in on the gap with Japan for the leading overseas market. The British traveler expenditures also increased, double the growth rate level of arrivals (16%), supporting thirty six percent of the Western European receipts. The third largest overseas market, Germany, decreased by five percent in arrivals for the year, but France and Italy showed great strides of growth, setting their own record levels of visitation (1,013,222 and 610,796, respectively).

The second largest overseas region for visitors is Asia. There's no question that the thirteen percent decline in arrivals to 6.7 million in 1998 was dramatically affected by conditions in both Japan and Korea, particularly. Japan's lead as the top overseas traveler segment for the U.S. at 4.9 million visitors was put in much closer range now with the U.K. by suffering a nine percent decline from 1997. Now there is only a 900,000 traveler difference between the two markets. Even more devastating was the loss of South Korean visitors. The fifty one percent loss from 1997 to 364,061 also caused this country's rank in arrivals to go from eighth to sixteenth. Korean arrivals to the United States have not been this low since 1992.

The rest of the regions performed positively in 1998 with the exception of the Caribbean (-2%). Despite the volatility in Brazil with the devaluation of the Real, the South American region grew by nearly five percent in 1998. Brazilian arrivals declined by three percent, but were offset by double digit growths in arrivals from Venezuela and Colombia, and a four percent growth in the arrivals from Argentina.

Chart #6 1998 Overseas Regional Arrivals

1998 Overseas Regional Arrivals

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