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

1/27/99

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

Third quarter 1998 continued to reveal an overall slump in overseas arrivals to the United States (down 2.6% compared to 1997). Asia's economic situation continued to be the main factor for the overseas shortfall. Asian arrivals to the United States continued double digit declines for the first three quarters of 1998. In all, arrivals from Asia through September 1998 were down nearly fourteen percent. Positive growth from Western Europe (up 2%); South America (up 4%); Central America (up 26%); and secondary regions such as the Middle East (up 6%); Eastern Europe (up 7%); and Africa (up 12%) all helped to counter Asia's slump in arrivals but fell short of keeping overseas arrivals positive in the first half of 1998. Arrivals from the Caribbean and Oceania where both down five percent.

Top Markets

Arrivals from Japan in the third quarter (July - September) saw the sharpest decline of 1998 (down more than 11%). Arrivals from Japan posted their largest loss in September (down 17%) compared to 1997. The September decline reflects the continued concerns about economic recession in Japan plus fewer airline seats being available due to the Northwest Airlines strike. Despite these record declines, Japan still remains the top overseas market for the United States with 3.8 million arrivals through three quarters of 1998. The year to date loss is nearly 8%, which amounts to more than thirty thousand fewer Japanese visitors to the United States in 1998 compared to 1997.

The United Kingdom maintained positive growth through the third quarter although at a slower rate (3%) compared to the record third quarter 1997 rate (up 26%). Year to date arrivals reached an all time high at 2.9 million closing the gap to less than 1 million visitors between Japan and the UK for the top ranked overseas market slot.

German arrivals continued a steady decline through 1998 making arrivals through the third quarter down seven percent. Month by month in the third quarter, also down 7%, showed July down 8%, August down nearly 12% and September down a modest two percent. Despite the downturn from German arrivals, Germany still registered over 1.4 million visitors to the U.S. through September 1998.

Arrivals from France increased by one percent in the third quarter of 1998 due to positive growth in both August and September up 2% and 4% respectively. The third quarter growth offset the second quarter decline (down 1%) and helped keep France on track to top the 1996 record arrival level. To date total arrivals from reached nearly 783,000, up 3% from the same period in 1997.

Arrivals from Brazil in the third quarter of 1998 went from double digit declines in July (down 12%), to a healthy four percent increase in August, to being flat in September. All in all, the year- to-date Brazilian arrivals (670,000) are down by more than six percent compared to the 1997 arrivals level.

Top Arrivals January - September 1998
  NUMBER OF PERCENT
COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE ARRIVALS CHANGE
    1998/1997
     
CANADA 10,742,499 -11.7
JAPAN 3,790,247 -7.8
UNITED KINGDOM 2,944,763 7.2
MEXICO* 2,587,658 18.6
GERMANY 1,436,731 -6.5
FRANCE 782,744 2.7
BRAZIL 670,364 -6.4
ITALY 464,021 5.2
ARGENTINA 406,049 4.2
VENEZUELA 386,388 11.9
NETHERLANDS 376,049 3.7
AUSTRALIA 348,052 -7.1
PRC & HONG KONG 336,410 -1.3
ROC (TAIWAN) 313,604 -14.2
SWITZERLAND 306,099 0.8
KOREA, SOUTH 274,003 -56.1
COLOMBIA 273,052 19.5
SPAIN 248,560 -1
SWEDEN 216,353 1.1
ISRAEL 210,080 3.7
     
TOTAL TOP 20 FOR Y-T-D 27,113,726 -5.4

Other Asian Highlights:

South Korean arrivals continued to have dramatic declines in arrivals through the third quarter of 1998 (down 56%). Arrivals through September 1998 exceeded 274,000. Taiwan continued to have double digit declines through September (down 14%) to register only 314,000 visitor arrivals. The third quarter dropped significantly (down 19%) - the worst quarter in 1998 positioning Taiwan as fifteenth in terms of overseas arrivals. The reunified Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China continued to register minimal growth (up 1%) in the third quarter with 336,000 visitors. The positive gain was not enough however to offset the first quarter declines, yielding an overall year-to-date decline (down 1%).

Other South and Central American Highlights:

Despite Brazil's economic worries and significant influence on the South and Central American economies, both South and Central America experienced solid growth in the third quarter, with the month of August showing healthy increases of 13% and 43% respectively. The strong second quarter for South America could not be matched in the third quarter, however, with both July and September being flat. Overall South America is up 4%, registering 2.2 million arrivals and accounting for more than 12% of the overseas market to the United States through September 1998. Argentina continues to edge out Venezuela through September with 406,000 and 386,000 total visitors respectively. Argentina's pace is slowing however. In the third quarter of 1998 Argentina only registered a 2% gain and the year-to-date growth is four percent. Venezuela, however, posted a very strong nine percent increase for the third quarter and had double digit increases (12%) through September 1998. Colombia also maintained double digit growth through the three quarters of 1998 (up 20%), with the third quarter showing double digit gains in each month. Total arrivals from Colombia exceeded 273,000 through September 1998 compared to 1997.

Other World Region Highlights:

Arrivals from the Caribbean through September totaled 854,000, a decline of five percent compared to 1997. All three months in the third quarter showed declines with the quarter ending down 11%, the worst quarter of the year. Oceania also registered declines for each month in the third quarter, with the quarter down ten percent. Total arrivals through three fourths of 1998 are just under a half million (488,000), down five percent from 1997.

Canada: Although arrivals from Canada have dropped significantly, Canada's market share to the U.S. has not suffered as dramatically. During the first three quarters of 1998 Canada's market share accounted for nearly 35% of all visitation (excluding Mexican boarder zone visits) to the United States. This is only down one point from 1997 due to the declines in arrivals from Asia, Oceania and the Caribbean. In September arrivals dropped by fifteen percent compared to the same month in 1997. Throughout the third quarter, Canadian visitation declined in double digit fashion with the third quarter ending down nearly eighteen percent compared to 1997 . Total arrivals reached more than 10.1 million through three fourths of 1998, down nearly 12% from 1997.

Mexican air arrivals to the United States soared to more than 1 million visitor arrivals due to a nine percent increase through the first three quarters of 1998. If ranked by counting only air arrivals, Mexico would fall just behind Germany for visitor arrivals, ahead of France and Brazil. However, combining overnight stays into the U.S. interior with air arrivals causes Mexico to leap ahead of Germany with nearly 2.6 million visitors through the first three quarters of 1998.

For more information on monthly arrivals, quarterly performance and other visitor arrivals statistics for the United States visit Tourism Industries web site at , go into the Market Analysis section and then the Visitor Arrivals Program. You can also contact Scott Johnson at 202-492-1129.