US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker releases 2015 spring travel forecast

WASHINGTON, DC - The Commerce Department today released new data forecasting international visitors who stay one or more nights in the United States will reach a record 77.6 million this year - up mor

US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker releases 2015 spring travel forecast

WASHINGTON, DC – The Commerce Department today released new data forecasting international visitors who stay one or more nights in the United States will reach a record 77.6 million this year – up more than 3.6 percent from total visitors in 2014. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker speaking at the IPW 2015 luncheon issued the 2015 Spring Travel Forecast showing America continues to be a premier travel destination and will continue to see strong visitation growth through 2020.

“We want and welcome international visitors to see and experience all America has to offer. As the world economy continues to shift, promoting travel and tourism is essential to our competitiveness, vital to our prosperity, and critical to the success of our businesses and our economy,” said Secretary Pritzker. “President Obama has understood from the beginning how vital travel and tourism is to the economic health of the United States. Visitors to our country spent a record $221 billion on travel goods and services last year, supporting 1.1 million total U.S. jobs.”

In 2012, the President launched the first-ever National Travel and Tourism Strategy to welcome 100 million international visitors to the United States who will spend $250 billion in 2021. The Obama administration understands the vital importance of travel and tourism to our economic growth and remains committed to building on this recent success, and meeting the National Goal by 2021.

According to the current forecast, the United States will see a 3.8 percent to 4.6 percent annual growth rate in visitor volume during the 2015-2020 timeframe. By the year 2020, it is projected that 96.4 million visitors will travel to the U.S. – an increase of 29 percent over 2014.

The latest forecast produces a compound annual growth rate during the forecast period of 4.3 percent – a slight increase from the 2014 Fall Travel Forecast.

All but one of the current top-20 visitor origin countries are forecast to grow from 2014 through 2020. Countries with the largest total growth percentages are China (163 percent), Colombia (54 percent), India (42 percent), Mexico (37 percent), and Taiwan (33 percent). Venezuela is the only country expected to have a decline in volume during the forecast period. Three countries – Mexico, China, and Canada – are expected to account for 61 percent of the projected growth from 2014 through 2020.

Travel and tourism is the largest services export industry for the United States. The U.S. currently has a total trade surplus in services of $231.1 billion.


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North America: The top two markets generating visitors to the United States – Canada and Mexico – are forecast to increase in 2015 by one percent and eight percent, respectively. Canada is expected to see growth from 2014 to 2020 by 3.4 million (15 percent), while visitors from Mexico are expected to increase by 6.3 million (37 percent). Growth from Mexico would set another record volume level.
Europe: By 2020, arrivals from Europe are projected to be 16.7 million, or 21 percent higher than in 2014. The largest growth from Europe will come from the U.K. (+724,000), France (372,000), Italy (271,000), and Germany (+205,000). These growth forecasts reflect low-growth rates based on large traveler volume bases. For perspective, Western Europe countries are expected to produce 2.4 million additional travelers in 2020 versus 2014, compared to 548,000 additional travelers from Eastern Europe countries.

Asia-Pacific: This world region is expected to produce a 49 percent increase in visitors by 2020. Japan, the largest Asian market and second-largest overseas market, is forecast to increase by less than 1 percent each year of the forecast on average to produce total growth of 105,000 additional travelers by the end of 2020. High growth rates and large growth volumes are expected in 2015 for China (20 percent), India (8 percent), Taiwan (7 percent), and South Korea (5 percent). Similarly, these four countries are expected to have among the largest total visitor volume growth of any country from 2014 through 2020. China is expected to increase by a total of 3.6 million visitors, a 163 percent increase through 2020, and produce the second-largest number of additional visitors behind Mexico. South Korea should produce an additional 420,000 visitors (+29 percent), while India could add 402,000 additional visitors (+42 percent). Australia dominates the Oceania region and is projected to increase 308,000 visitors, or 24 percent between 2014 and 2020.

South America: South America will remain a top producer of additional travelers for the next several years. By 2020, South America will generate nearly 1.9 million more visitors, a 34 percent increase compared to 2014. Brazil, the largest source market in the region, is expected to build on its 2014 record-breaking performance and increase 5 percent in 2015. By 2020 the United States could host 3.1 million Brazilian visitors, a 38 percent increase from 2014. Venezuela, Argentina, and Colombia, which in 2013 ranked 13th, 14th, and 15th, respectively, are countries on different forecast paths. Colombia should continue its recent growth performances and produce the greatest growth of 478,000 visitors (+54 percent). Argentina’s recent strong growth will turn to declines for the first three years of the forecast period before returning to a growth mode to end the forecast with a higher volume by 70,000 travelers (10 percent). Venezuela’s reversal in outlook has been quick and profound. The long-term high hopes for this star-performing country during the past decade has been replaced by a forecast calling for a sobering 185,000, or 30 percent, decline in volume at the end of the forecast period.

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