NTTO announces 2019 overseas visitation estimates, country profiles and spending

NTTO announces 2019 overseas visitation estimates, country profiles and spending


The National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) has completed posting of the 2019 states, cities, and regions visited by overseas travelers, and profiles on the Inbound Travel to the U.S.A page.

NTTO’s presentation includes profiles of overseas visitors containing characteristics from the Survey of International Air Travelers passenger responses. Profiles include a comprehensive view of overseas travelers, followed by segmentations by regions (9) and countries (top 25) of origin. In addition, there are ten sector/activity profiles and special reports on U.S. states and cities visited in 2019.

Key takeaways follow:

While the 2019 overseas arrivals data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security I-94 records totaled 40.393 million visitors, marking a 1.3 percent year-over-year increase, total visitation to the 11 U.S. regions declined slightly by -1.2 percent.

Spending (travel and tourism exports, preliminary) estimates totaled $211.4 billion, down slightly from 2018. Revised estimates will be forthcoming. Country and regional spending estimates are included, when available, within the profiles. For example, the Italy profile shows that spending for total travel (all purposes) and passenger fares on U.S. carriers was estimated at $4.3 billion.

Traveler Characteristics observed in 2019 versus 1997:

Business-Convention travel in 2019 was slightly lower than it was in 1997

NTTO announces 2019 overseas visitation estimates, country profiles and spending

Leisure-VFR (visiting friends and relatives) travel segments demonstrated sustained growth over the last two-plus decades, from 18.8M in 1997 to 33.1M in 2019

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NTTO announces 2019 overseas visitation estimates, country profiles and spending

• Other Traveler Characteristics observed in 2019 versus 1997: The average number of states visited in 2019 was 1.4 states vs. 1.6 states in 1997. Also, the percentage of travelers visiting only one state was 75.9 percent of visitors in 2019, up from 63.1 percent in 1997.

• Length of stay in the United States averaged 16.9 nights, up from 15.4 nights in 1997.

• Average travel party size increased to 1.7 persons from 1.6 persons in 1997. A 6.3 percent increase in party size may have influenced other visitation statistics, i.e. lodging, as would changes in length of stay and number of destinations visited.

• The share of visitors using a ‘conventional’ tour package (including, at minimum, air and lodging) declined to 13.3 percent from 22.5 percent in 1997. Tour packages were used mostly in Asian, European, and Brazilian markets. A growing number of ‘independent’ travelers utilized internet booking services to virtually assemble air and lodging reservations.

• The number of repeat travelers has increased over time, from 75.3% of all travelers in 1997 to 78.7% in 2019.

• Transportation usage in the United States: For inter-city travel the usage of bus travel increased while domestic air travel declined.

• The use of cruise, ship/river boat, for one or more nights, and ferry and scenic cruises has been holding at four percent since NTTO started to measure those modes in 2012.

• The most seismic change during this period was the proportionate increase in the number of females who visited the United States. In 2019, 48% of all overseas visitors were female compared with 34% in 1997.

  1997 2019
Male 66% 52%
Female 34% 48%

• 89.3% of all visitors rated their U.S. entry experience as “average/good/excellent.”

• 97.1percent of visitors indicated their overall trip experience in the United States “met or exceeded expectations” and 97.7 percent indicated they expect to visit the United States again.

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