The US Department of Commerce projects international travel to the U.S. to regain its footing by 2010, following its first forecasted year of decline in 2009 since 2003. Reflective of the current global economic environment, international travel is forecasted to decline by 8 percent in 2009. This is met by a projected rebound of 3 percent growth by the end of 2010, followed by 5 percent annual increases through 2013.
In 2009 twenty-four of the top 25 arrival markets are estimated to decline. The largest decreases will be from Ireland (-13%), Spain (-12%), and Mexico (-11%). The United Kingdom, France and Italy are each expected to post 10 percent declines for the year.
These decreases follow a record year for the United States in 2008, having hosted 58 million international visitors. In the long term, the forecast estimates an increase of 10 percent between 2008 and 2013 to reach a record 64 million international travelers to the United States.
The U.S. travel forecast was prepared by the Department of Commerce in conjunction with Global Insight, Inc. (GII). Forecasts are derived from GII’s econometric travel forecasting model and are based on key economic and demographic variables as well as DOC consultation on non-economic travel factors.
Forecast Highlights by Region
North America- The top two markets generating visitors to the U.S., Canada and Mexico, are forecasted to decline by 6 percent and 11 percent, respectively, in 2009, and to grow by 14 and 6 percent, respectively, from 2008 to 2013. By 2011, both Canada and Mexico are forecast to set new records for arrivals to the U.S.
Europe – Visitors from Europe are expected to decrease by 9 percent in 2009, the largest decline among the world regions. It will take the entire forecast period to regain this loss by 2013. The United Kingdom is projected to post a 10 percent decline in 2009, matched by France and Italy. Germany’s contraction is forecasted slightly less, at 6 percent for 2009. The United Kingdom and Germany are the only top European markets forecasted to recover by 2013.
Asia Pacific- Although Asian visitation is projected to decline by 5 percent in 2009, the forecast estimates a 21 percent growth rate by 2013 from 2008. Japan continues to be the largest Asian market and second-largest overseas market despite an estimated 5 percent decline in 2009. The longer-term forecast shows that by 2013, the U.S. will host 3.6 million Japanese visitors, up 10 percent from 2008. Substantial long-term double-digit growth is forecasted for the other key markets from Asia Pacific by 2013 compared to 2008: China is projected to increase by 61%; India by 43%; Korea by 22%; and Australia by 17%.
South America – South America is projected to contract by 4 percent in 2009, but then leads the growth in arrivals among all regions for the next several years. By 2013, South America will generate over 3.1 million visitors, a 23 percent increase compared to 2008, the second fastest growth rate among all of the world regions. The largest source market from within the region, Brazil, is expected to be down 8 percent in 2009, but to recover with a strong 21% increase by 2013 over 2008. This will put Brazil as the seventh top international market, displacing Italy by 2013. A strong rebound is projected for both Venezuela (up 17%) and Colombia (up 26%) to support the long-term forecast for the South American region for 2013 over 2008.
Travel and tourism represents one of the top services export for the United States and has produced a travel-trade surplus since 1989. For official information on international travel to the United States, including additional information on the forecast for travel to the United States for 2009-2013 for all world regions and over 40 countries, please visit http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/