International Arrivals to the United States - Second Quarter 2003
International Arrivals to the United States For June, Second Quarter, and the First Half of 2003

Total international arrivals to the U.S. through the first half of 2003 contracted 8 percent to 15,145,636 arrivals, compared to 2002. Only two top ten visitor arrivals markets registered positive gains – the United Kingdom (up 2%) and India (up 1%).

Total international arrivals to the U.S. in 2003 began on a positive note. However, a sluggish global economy, the Iraqi War, SARS, and airline strife resulted in five months of contraction starting in February through the first half of 2003. A 7 percent decrease in June arrivals contributed to the cumulative downturn resulting in 1.3 million fewer arrivals for the first half of 2003 compared to 2002. June registered 273,673 fewer international arrivals to the U.S. – down 7 percent to 2,717,481 arrivals, and pushed the second quarter down 9 percent to 7,985,993 arrivals, compared to a year ago.

Overseas arrivals (which excludes Canada and Mexico) also contracted – the first half of 2003 registered a 12 percent decline to 7,796,669 arrivals, compared to last year. June 2003 overseas arrivals declined 13 percent, to register 1,414,428 arrivals, and the second quarter dropped 14 percent to 4 million arrivals, compared to a year ago.

The U.S. registered declines in all world regions for the first half of 2003. The strongest major world region through the first half was Western Europe. However, Western European arrivals to the U.S. contracted 2 percent through the first half of 2003. Asian arrivals contracted 21 percent to 2,127,611 arrivals through the first half of 2002. Arrivals from Asia continued to contract in June (down 28%) after contracting 35 percent in May and 39 percent in April 2003, which culminated in a 34 percent decrease for second quarter 2003 compared to a year ago. Arrivals from South America registered the largest overall decline for arrivals to the U.S. – dropping 24 percent through the first half of 2003. For the second year in a row Venezuela and Argentina both ranked below the top ten markets through the first half of the year.

The remaining world regions all contracted through the first half of 2003:

 

 
June
Second
Quarter
First Half
  • Oceania
-3% -8% -6%
  • Caribbean
-27% -6% -13%
  • Central America
-14% -8% -11%
  • Middle East
-18% -11% -14%
  • Eastern Europe
-5% -9% -7%
  • Africa
-5% -9% -8%

Top Visitor Markets:

Canada:
Canadian travel to the U.S. contracted 4 percent to register 5,771,295 arrivals through the first half of 2003 – a total of 236,718 fewer arrivals. January and February arrivals registered gains (up 5% and 2% respectively) but a sluggish March (down 6%) resulted in a 1 percent decline for the first quarter. Arrivals in April and May continued to contract (down 11% and 9% respectively) and June arrivals were flat resulting in a 7 percent decrease in Canadian arrivals for second quarter 2003, compared to a year ago. SARS, a strong dollar, and political uncertainty likely contributed to the contraction.

Mexico:
Despite a second quarter rally travel from Mexico to the U.S. contracted 5 percent to register 1,577,672 arrivals through the first half of 2003 – a total of 81,375 fewer arrivals compared to last year. Arrivals in January grew nine percent followed by sharp declines in February and severe declines in March (down 12% and down 52% respectively). First Quarter 2003 registered a 27 decrease in Mexican arrivals to the U.S. compared to last year. The second quarter started out rapidly reversing the first quarter declines by registering a 62 percent increase in arrivals for April, a 2 percent increase in May, and flat arrivals in June 2003. Subsequently second quarter arrivals from Mexico to the U.S. registered a 19 percent increase, compared to a year ago.

United Kingdom:
Travel from the UK grew 2 percent to 1,756,441arrivals – registering 35,447 more arrivals through the first half of 2003 compared to last year. Arrivals from the UK to the U.S. grew in all months except March in which arrivals contracted sharply (down 17%). The March drop resulted in the first quarter registering a 2 percent decrease compared to last year. However, in April arrivals bounced back with double-digit growth (up 10%), May arrivals grew 5 percent, and June arrivals grew 2 percent to 297,853 arrivals. The second quarter registered a 6 percent increase to 969,446 arrivals compared to last year.

Japan:
A continuing sluggish Asian economy combined with the Iraqi war and SARS culminated in a 22 percent decrease in Japanese arrivals to the United States through the first half of 2003, compared to 2002. The U.S. registered 1,303,321 Japanese arrivals – 360,592 fewer arrivals through the first half of 2003 compared to last year. The first two months of 2003 registered gains (up 8% and 3% respectively), however an already weakened Asian economy was further undermined due to the Iraqi war and SARS. This resulted a severe drop in arrivals in March (down 24%) and registered a 6 percent decline for the first quarter. Second quarter arrivals plummeted in April (down 41%), May (down 38%), and June (down 33% to 201,672 arrivals) resulting in a 37 percent decline in arrivals for second quarter 2003, compared to last year.

Germany:
Arrivals from Germany contracted 4 percent to 510,133 arrivals – registering 20,646 fewer German arrivals through the first half of 2003, compared to last year. The year began with positive gains in the first two months (up 8% and 3% respectively), however, March arrivals contracted 22 percent due to a weak German economy and uncertain times. The first quarter German arrivals to the U.S. registered a 5 percent decrease. In April positive gains were registered (up 7%) but was short lived. May arrivals contracted (down 7%) and June arrivals contracted 7 percent to 84,948 arrivals with the second quarter registering a 7 percent decrease in German arrivals to the U.S., compared to last year.

France:
French arrivals to the U.S. contracted 8 percent to 304,477 arrivals – registering 26,453 fewer arrivals through the first half of 2003, compared to last year. French arrivals started the year registering positive gains for the first two months (up 10% and 13% respectively), however, March arrivals contracted 11 percent to end the quarter on a down note. Despite the drop in March, the strong early growth in arrivals resulted in a 3 percent increase in arrivals for first quarter 2003. Second quarter arrivals dropped in all three months of the second quarter (April down 17%, May down 17%, and June down 14%) resulting in a 16 percent decrease in arrivals for the second quarter.

South Korea:
Arrivals from South Korea to the U.S. contracted 5 percent to 285,866 arrivals – registering 16,196 fewer arrivals through the first half of 2003, compared to last year. South Korean arrivals started the year registering positive gains in January (up 7%), however, February and March arrivals contracted (down 8% and 10% respectively) resulting in a 2 percent decrease in first quarter 2003 arrivals. Second quarter arrivals dropped considerably in April (down 26%) and slightly in May (down 4%). However, June arrivals grew 2 percent (one of only 3 top markets) to 60,734 arrivals, compared to last year. The increase in arrivals in June did not offset the sharp declines that resulted in an 8 percent decrease in arrivals for the second quarter.

Australia:
Australian Arrivals to the U.S. contracted 5 percent to 182,436 arrivals – registering 9,746 fewer arrivals through the first half of 2003, compared to last year. Arrivals from Australia started the year registering double-digit gains in January (up 16%), however, February and March arrivals contracted (down 3% and 18% respectively) resulting in a 2 percent decrease in first quarter 2003 arrivals. Second quarter arrivals continued to contract in April (down 11%), May (down 3%) and June (down 9% to 34,072) resulting in a 7 percent decrease in arrivals for the second quarter.

Netherlands:
Arrivals from the Netherlands contracted 6 percent to 161,549 arrivals – registering 10,792 fewer arrivals through the first half of 2003, compared to last year. The year began with positive gains in the first two months (up 9% and 1% respectively), however, March arrivals contracted 9 percent resulting in a flat first quarter. Second quarter arrivals continued to contract in April (down 20%), May (down 7%) and June (down 4% to 30,699) resulting in a 10 percent decrease in arrivals for the second quarter.

Italy:
Italian arrivals to the U.S. contracted 5 percent to 153,964 arrivals – registering 8,871 fewer arrivals through the first half of 2003, compared to last year. Arrivals from Italy to the U.S. started the year registering strong growth in the first two months (up 29% and 6% respectively), however, March arrivals contracted 15 percent. The strong early growth in arrivals resulted in a 5 percent increase in arrivals for first quarter 2003. Second quarter arrivals dropped in all three months of the second quarter resulting in a 14 percent decrease in arrivals for the second quarter.

Brazil:
The deflated Real and sluggish economy in Brazil resulted in a 29 percent decrease in arrivals to the U.S. – registering 153,512 arrivals through the first half of 2003, compared to last year. Arrivals from Brazil contracted in all six months of the first half of 2003. First quarter arrivals decreased by 28 percent and the second quarter arrivals declined by 30 percent. According to the Brazil Travel Barometer the Brazilian trade are optimistic for modest gains in travel demand for the third and fourth quarter of 2003.

India:
India was one of two top ten markets to register positive growth in arrivals to the U.S. through the first half of 2003 (the UK was the other). Travel from India grew 1 percent to 135,445 arrivals – registering 1,811 more arrivals through the first half of 2003 compared to last year. Arrivals from India to the U.S. grew in January and February (up 14% and 9% respectively), however March arrivals contracted 3 percent. The positive gains in the first two months of the year resulted in a 7 percent increase in arrivals for first quarter 2003. In April arrivals continued to contract (down 10%), however, May arrivals grew 1 percent and June arrivals grew 2 percent to register 28,578 arrivals. The sharp drop in arrival in April resulted in a 2 percent decrease in arrivals for the second quarter, compared to last year. This is the first time that India has become on of the top 10 markets generating visitors to the United States. Arrivals for the first quarter of 2003 for India also increased by 7 percent. Although, country for the first quarter of 2003, India ranked 13th among the top markets generating visitors to the. For calendar year 2002, India ended up as the 20th largest arrival market.

SARS:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the following countries suffered the worst exposure to the SARS outbreak: China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Canada. All of these markets, other than Canada, continued to register a drop in travel to the U.S. through June 2003. Canada was the only key SARS market that did not register a significant decline. Also note worthy, Singapore’s rate of contraction has tailed off compared to the previous months.

Key 2003 Arrivals   Percent Change 2003/2002
SARS
Markets
April May June Second
Quarter
Jan-June
Total
April May June Second
Quarter
1st
ASIA

251,346

326,143 365,918 943,407 2,127,611 -39.1% -35.1% -27.7% -33.6% -21.0%
TAIWAN 9,451 10,091 17,450 36,992 97,244 -46.8% -62.2% -45.5% -51.6% -32.4%
CHINA, PRC 7,035 6,441 8,610 22,086 63,980 -60.6% -69.4% -59.2% -63.2% -42.1%
SINGAPORE 2,715 5,588 8,795 17,098 35,228 -61.2% -49.1% -12.3% -39.0% -25.3%
CANADA 980,655 1,005,147 1,006,328 2,992,095 5,771,295 -11.1% -8.7% 0.0% -7.0% -4.0%

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, August 2003

The impact of SARS is evident, however, since each of these markets also registered declines in March and most registered declines in February (prior to the SARS breakout) it indicates that the drop in arrivals is a combination of economic, political, and SARS-related concerns that dissuaded travelers.

TOP PORTS JANUARY-JUNE 2003

In addition to tracking arrivals to the country, on a monthly basis, OTTI also has data on arrivals for over 40 ports of entry. A brief analysis is presented on the top 15 ports for overseas arrivals for the first six months of 2003. Within the report OTTI issues using this database, arrivals may be tracked for the top 40 ports by all world regions and 30 countries.

- Arrivals at the top 15 ports-of-entry for January-June 2003 show that while total overseas arrivals for the first six months were down 12 percent, the declines to the country were not the same when viewed at the port level (overseas excludes Canada and Mexico). Destinations may be able to determine if they will see their visitation figures decline by more or less than the national averages by tracking the ports that generate visitors to each state or city within the United States.

- For the first six months of 2003, New York’s JFK Airport, Chicago, Newark, Washington Dulles, Detroit, and Boston all registered declines that were less than the national average. Orlando and Sanford Orlando Airports were the only top 15 airports that did not post declines in arrivals for the half of 2003. Agana, Guam continued to register the largest contraction, down 38 percent. The top three ports-of-entry represent 37 percent of all overseas arrivals to the country. The top 15 ports totaled 85 percent of all overseas arrivals for the January-June 2003 time frame.

Further Information:

The above analysis is a synopsis of the world regions and the top markets generating arrivals to the United States. Arrival statistics for the top countries and world regions may be accessed on-line from the monthly section of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) web site at: https://travel.trade.gov/research/monthly/arrivals/index.html

Once on this page, there are numerous links to tables that provide arrivals for the top arrival markets to the United States. Please take a look at each of the links available.

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 country. The report provides data on approximately 90 countries each month and over 40 ports-of-entry. Numerous breakouts are provided by world region and 30 countries for the port tables as well. To learn more about this program, please go to: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/research/programs/i94/index.html

If you would like to purchase the monthly international arrival reports for 2002 and 2003, please go to: https://travel.trade.gov/research/reports/i94/upcoming/index.html