1998 Monthly Tourism
1998 Quarterly Analysis On Arrivals To U.S. -- Second Quarter

9/30/1998

Analysis for June 1998 and Year To Date Arrivals To the U.S.

The good news is that overseas arrivals are only down by one percent, with just over eleven million arrivals through the first half of 1998 compared to the first half of 1997 (11.3 million arrivals). Asia's economic situation continued to be the main factor for the overseas shortfall. Asian arrivals to the United States had double digit declines for the first and second quarters of 1998. In all, in the first half of 1998 Asian arrivals to the U.S. were down nearly thirteen percent. Positive growth from Western Europe (up 4%); South America (up 5%); Central America (up 26%); and secondary regions such as the Middle East (up 8%); Eastern Europe (up 5%); and Africa (up 15%) all helped to counter Asia's slump in arrivals but fell short of keeping overseas arrivals positive in the first half of 1998.

Top Markets

Japan's second quarter arrivals continued to be down (nearly 7%), with the first month of summer seeing the sharpest decline thus far (June was down 11%). Even though Japan remained as the U.S. number one overseas market in terms of visitor arrivals with 2.4 million for the first half of 1998, it still experienced a six percent drop compared to the first half of 1997.

The United Kingdom had double digit growth through the first half of 1998 (up more than 10%). In the second quarter however the UK dropped out of double digit growth (up only 9%) compared to the first quarter (up 12%). For the first time, April (up 14% with 334,000 arrivals) outperformed June (up only 2% with 311,000 arrivals); and May was the top month for arrivals (357,000 arrivals, up 11%) in the first half of the year.

A full year has elapsed since the weakened German economy started to show declines in visits to the United States (June 1997 was down 9%). Through the first half of 1998 German arrivals continued to decline (down 6%), but still amounted to nearly 868,000 visitors to the United States, which is nearly double France (451,000 visits) - the number four ranking overseas country through the first half of 1998.

Arrivals from France (451,000 visitors) outperformed Brazil (417,000 visitors) to rank fourth in terms of arrivals through the first half of 1998. But France is showing signs of slowing down with a slight decline in the second quarter (down 1%). June was the main contributor to the second quarter decline (down 6%). Even so, overall arrivals from France for the first half of 1998 were up by four percent, this is mainly due to strong first quarter growth (up 11%).

Brazil slipped to the fifth ranked position in terms of arrivals (417,000 visits) due to continued declines (down 7%) through the first half of 1998. The second quarter decline tapered some (down 4%) compared to the first quarter's double digit decline (down nearly 10%). April was the only month in 1998 to have positive growth (up 3%), this is mainly contributed to the Easter break being in April in 1998 versus March in 1997. Non the less, April's growth was not enough to keep Brazil ranked above France.

  NUMBER OF PERCENT
COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE ARRIVALS CHANGE
     
CANADA 6,575,851 -7.3
JAPAN 2,393,008 -5.6
UNITED KINGDOM 1,793,681 10.4
MEXICO AIR 631,009 10.9
GERMANY 867,738 -6
FRANCE 451,213 3.9
BRAZIL 417,474 -7.1
ARGENTINA 275,311 5.4
ITALY 249,106 6.5
NETHERLANDS 229,612 9.1
AUSTRALIA 223,382 -3.5
VENEZUELA 208,841 14.3
PRC & HONG KONG 199,107 -2.7
ROC (TAIWAN) 192,897 -10.5
SWITZERLAND 178,383 -0.3
COLOMBIA 177,697 21.4
KOREA, SOUTH 159,955 -58.5
SWEDEN 153,091 3
SPAIN 144,153 -0.7
BAHAMAS 120,944 -8.6

Other Asia Highlights:

South Korean arrivals continued to have dramatic declines in arrivals through the first half of 1998 (down 59%). Arrivals through June 1998 almost reached 160,000. The only good news for South Korea is that the second quarter's rate of decline is less than the first quarters (down 55% versus 62% respectively). Taiwan ended the first half of 1998 with a double digit decline (down 11%). Arrivals for the second quarter dropped by more than twelve percent (down 12%), contributing to lower Taiwanese arrivals (193,000 visits) compared to both 1997 and 1996 first half year arrival levels. The reunified Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China actually had a positive second quarter (up 8%), boosting arrivals for the first half of 1998 to near 200,000 (199,000). The second quarter gains were not enough to negate the double digit declines in the first quarter (down 14%), leaving the results for year to date arrivals down three percent (down 3%).

Other South and Central American Highlights:

Most of South and Central America experienced good growth in the second quarter and ended the first half of 1998 with positive gains in arrivals to the United States. A major contributor to the second quarter growth was a very strong Easter break which occurred in April in 1998 versus March in 1997. Argentina held its ground and more with over 275,000 arrivals in the first half of 1998 and solid growth (up 5%) for the first half of 1998. Venezuela had an astounding double digit increase in April (up nearly 49%). The second quarter tapered off some but still ended in double digit growth (up 22%), while the year to date growth was up fourteen percent (up 14%) from the same period in 1997. Colombia also maintained double digit growth through the first half of 1998 (up 21%), with April 1998 growing more than fifty five percent (up 55%) from 1997.

Other World Region Highlights:

The Caribbean flip-flopped with declines in the first quarter (down 7%) and positive growth in the second quarter (up 4%). The second quarter's strongest growth came in April, once again showing the importance of the Easter break. Total visitors amounted to nearly a half million (497,000) visitors through the first half of 1998. Oceania was flat in the first quarter and most of the second quarter, but June was down by eight percent putting the second quarter and the year to date arrivals in the red (down 3% and 2% respectively). None-the-less the total visitors from Oceania tapped 300 thousand arrivals (305,000 visits) through the first half of 1998.

Canada's economic situation and weak dollar don't seem to be improving - the same is true for arrivals from Canada. Through the first half of 1998 Canadian arrivals are down seven percent, and with June down by twelve percent as well as other preliminary July indicators being down - the summer months may not improve the declines. However, arrivals still amounted to over 6.6 million visits to the United States in 1998 - the largest country for visitor arrivals to the United States.

Mexican air arrivals to the United States reached 631,000 due to double digit growth (up 11%) through the first half of 1998 despite a first quarter decline (down 5%). Reflective of other Latin American countries the Easter break in April 1998 delivered double digit growth for air arrivals (up 49% in April) from Mexico.

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 Scott Johnson at 202-492-1129.