2000 Monthly Tourism Statistics
2000 Quarterly Analysis on Arrivals to the United States - First Quarter

7/31/2000

The information presented in this analysis is from Tourism Industriesí monthly publication March 2000 & Year-To-Date Summary of International Travel to the United States, and information pertaining to estimates for travel and passenger fare exports and imports were obtained from the U.S. Department of Commerce, BEA.

Analysis for March 2000 and Year To Date Arrivals To the United States

The first quarter of the Year 2000 showed a remarkable 8 percent increase with total visitor arrivals at 9.5 million, after a slight decline during the first quarter last year. This quarter growth could be attributed to recovering markets such as the Canadian and Asian travel markets. Arrivals from the Pacific region also grew faster this quarter as compared to the same quarter last year. Western European arrivals remained steady. South American arrivals were down compared to the same period last year.

Canada
Canada, the largest country for visitor arrivals to the United States, grew by 13 percent for the first quarter of 2000 (the highest growth rate since 1996), after experiencing a decline in 1999 for the same period. This quarterly increase could be attributed to the economic factors such as, growth in real GDP, record low unemployment rates, and the strengthening trend of the Canadian dollar as more U.S. dollars can be purchased per Canadian dollars. We enjoyed a healthy travel surplus (U.S. travel receipts minus payments) as well, with total Canadian expenditures in the U.S. reaching $2,366 million, giving us a surplus of $1,295 for the first quarter. The travel surplus grew by 16 percent in the first quarter compared to the same quarter in 1999, which was due to the double digit growth in travel receipts (up 12 percent).

Mexico*
Mexico is the fourth largest country for air arrivals to the United States with a growth of 3 percent for the first quarter in air arrivals. This quarter was much slower than the same quarter last year which was up 14 percent. Most of the slow growth was due to the 17 percent drop in March, while last March had a spectacular growth of 50 percent. This could be due to the cyclical nature of Easter breaks (a major travel period) which some years falls in March, and other years in April. In 1999, Easter fell on the 4th of April where vacation would be taken in late March. This year Easter was on April 23 where most of the vacation would be taken in the month of April. Thus, the travel increase will be reflected in the second quarter instead of the first quarter. Travelers with pleasure visas (as opposed to travelers with business or student visas) were down 20 percent in March, accounting for 84 percent of total air travelers. Travel receipts from Mexico were up 20 percent for the first quarter resulting in a reduction of the US travel deficit with Mexico by 15 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

Overseas
Overseas arrivals (which excludes Mexican and Canadian arrivals) were up by 7 percent, much faster than last yearís 1st quarter which increased by 2 percent. This increase was due mainly to a healthy positive growth in Asian arrivals compared to negative results from the same quarter last year. Western European arrivals remained steady at 5 percent despite significant decreases in several markets in the first quarter, due to the later Easter break for this year compared to1999. Asian economies seem to be recovering from the crisis. Asian GDP has been growing and investor confidence increasing. South America had a 1 percent drop in the first quarter of this year despite the first monthly increase in Brazilian arrivals since 1998.

A positive increase from other regions such as the Caribbean (up 10 percent), Central America (up 6 percent), Africa (up15 percent), Oceania (up 7 percent) and the Middle East (up 17 percent) have all helped the overall increase in overseas arrivals for the first quarter of 2000.

Top Markets

Japanese arrivals grew by 6 percent this quarter after declines in1999. This is the first sign of recovery since the effects of Japanís financial crisis in 1998. February and March were the strongest growth months. The increase in Japanese visitors were mainly composed of travelers with pleasure visas, as this market is notorious for being a pleasure market. A smaller percentage of the travelers were travelers with business visas. This volume increase was accompanied with a 6 percent growth in travel receipts in the United States resulting in a 5 percent increase in the travel surplus for the first quarter compared to the same quarter last year. The top ports of entry for Japanese travelers to the U.S. for the first quarter of 2000 were: Honolulu, Agana Guam, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

British arrivals grew steadily at 9 percent for the first quarter of 2000. Most of the increase was in February. British visitors using a pleasure visa accounted for 80 percent of total travelers to the United States, which grew at 7 percent for the first quarter compared to the same period last year. While travelers using a business visa grew by 16 percent comprising 19 percent of the travel market and 1 percent was accounted for by travelers with student visas. British total expenditures increased in the first quarter as well, up 6 percent compared to the same period last year. The top ports of entry for British travelers were: New York (JFK), Orlando International, Newark, Los Angeles, and Miami. This information is also available for 9 world regions and 30 countries by subscribing to TIís Summary of International Travel to the United States.

German and Spanish arrivals were down 11 percent and nearly 1 percent respectively, for the first quarter of 2000 compared to the first quarter last year. This could be due to the cyclical nature of Easter breaks (a major travel period) which some years fall in March, and other years in April. This could explain why German and Spanish arrivals suffered mostly in March, both with a 17 percent drop compared to March of last year. Travelers with pleasure visas from both countries comprised approximately 75 percent of total travelers to the United States which suffered a decrease in arrivals. In fact, German pleasure-visa travelers alone were down 24 percent and Spanish pleasure-visa travelers were down 22 percent for March. German travelers with business visas had a healthy increase of 20 percent and Spanish travelers with business visas were up 4 percent.

French arrivals increased by 16 percent for the first quarter, much faster than last yearís first quarter growth. Most of the growth happened in February and March. Italian arrivals increased steadily for the first quarter of 2000, by nearly 5 percent compared to the same period last year. Dutch and Swiss arrivals have both increased by 18 percent and 6 percent, respectively, in the first quarter of 2000.

Brazilian arrivals were down 4 percent for the first quarter compared to the same period last year. Despite the quarterly decrease, Brazil had a monthly 45 percent increase in March, the first monthly increase since December, 1998. After many months of declines Brazil seems to be recovering from the weakening of the Brazilian currency in 1999.

Australian arrivals for the first quarter of 2000 increased by 9 percent, after last yearís first quarter decline of 1 percent. The months with the greatest growth were January and February. Travelers with pleasure visas accounted for 73 percent of the travelers in the first quarter with an increase of 7 percent. Travelers with business visas accounted for 26 percent of total travelers with an increase of 16 percent for the first quarter compared to the same period last year. This increase in volume was accompanied by an increase in U.S. travel receipts from Australia, up 7 percent for the first quarter.

Other Asian Highlights:

South Korean arrivals surged 44 percent during the first quarter of 2000, following a 40 percent growth last year during the same period. Most of the increase came from travelers with pleasure visas, which comprised 61 percent of total travelers. Taiwanese arrivals rose slightly, up 7 percent in the first quarter of 2000 compared to last year. Most of the increase came in March, up 17 percent. Arrivals for the reunified Hong Kong and the Peopleís Republic of China increased by 14 percent compared to last yearís 8 percent drop for the same period.

Other Latin American Highlights:

Colombian and Venezuelan arrivals dropped 2 percent and 8 percent, respectively, both mostly due to the decreases in March (21 percent and 18 percent respectively). These decreases could be due to the late Easter season, since most of their travel market was comprised of travelers with pleasure visas. Argentine arrivals dropped by 4 percent for the first quarter of 2000 after a 1 percent drop last year.

To obtain additional information on arrivals to the United States, please consider subscribing to the monthly, quarterly, and/or annual Summary of International Travel to the United States. This report has 28 tables. Each table has two Sections, arrivals by volume and percent changes for the current month and year-to-date arrivals. Within the report arrivals data are provided for 9 world regions and more than 90 countries. To learn more about this report, visit OTTIís website at https://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2000-I-001/index.html.

SUMMARY TABLE OF FIRST QUARTER 2000 ARRIVALS
AND PERCENT CHANGE
COMPARED TO FIRST QUARTER 1999


COUNTRY OF
RESIDENCE
NUMBER OF
ARRIVALS
PERCENT
CHANGE
CANADA 3,245,209 12.6
JAPAN 1,219,181 6.2
UNITED KINGDOM 937,917 9.1
MEXICO* 726,014 3.1
GERMANY 360,834 -11.0
FRANCE 234,572 15.7
BRAZIL 175,415 -3.8
ARGENTINA 150,472 -4.2
KOREA, SOUTH 144,631 44.2
ITALY 129,313 4.7
NETHERLANDS 113,624 18.2
AUSTRALIA 110,334 8.9
VENEZUELA 102,895 -7.8
ROC (TAIWAN) 101,982 6.6
PRC & HONG KONG 91,531 14.2
HONG KONG
44,473 2.5
COLOMBIA 83,356 -2.2
SWEDEN 76,369 -2.8
SWITZERLAND 76,242 5.9
SPAIN 69,143 -0.4
ISRAEL 64,036 14.1
TOTAL ARRIVALS 9,516,360 8.4

For more information on monthly arrivals, quarterly performance and other visitor arrivals statistics for the United States visit Tourism Industries web site at http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/research/programs/i94/index.html or contact Michelle Greenberg at 202-482-0140.