Travel and Tourism Trade Policy and Agreements

TI News: New Research from the National Travel and Tourism Office

Dear colleagues –

For those of you who don’t know me, I am the Deputy Director of Research at the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), a position I have held since March 2020, having stepped into the role my friend and colleague, Ron Erdmann, had held for many years.  Prior to my arrival at NTTO, I spent the better part of a decade as the Senior Vice President of Research at the U.S. Travel Association.

For some of you, this email is an introduction to me, as well as to the products and services NTTO provides to the travel and tourism industry. To others, my outreach today serves as an update to highlight the significant enhancements we have made to our research program over the past year.

The travel industry has been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, particularly due to the severe decline in international inbound travel to our country. On a positive note, the United States resumed welcoming international visitors on November 8, 2021. To monitor the recovery of international travel, which is top of mind to many in the travel industry, there is no better place to look than NTTO.


The National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) functions as the U.S. federal tourism office. One of our core responsibilities is to collect, analyze, and disseminate international travel and tourism statistics.

In addition to providing research and analysis – which I’m going summarize below – NTTO creates a positive climate for growth in travel and tourism by reducing institutional barriers to tourism, administers joint marketing efforts, provides official travel and tourism statistics, and coordinates efforts across federal agencies through the Tourism Policy Council. The Office works to enhance the international competitiveness of the U.S. travel and tourism industry and increase its exports, thereby creating U.S. employment and economic growth. 

NTTO generates a tremendous amount of data which the travel and tourism industry uses to inform market decisions and to develop a compelling story about why travel and tourism is important to the economic health of a state, a community, or an industry-related sector. We have been working diligently to upgrade and update our website to make it more user-friendly and to expand the amount of information available on a “self-service” basis.

Here’s a brief look at the wide range of tools you will find on the research section of NTTO’s website.

Fact Sheets: NTTO has a new set of fact sheets ranging from Fast Facts (a brief, one-page document that provides an overview of the impact of international travel on the United States) to others specially dedicated to: 

These documents can be easily accessed by going to the research section of NTTO’s website and clicking on the “FACT SHEETS AND REPORTS” card under Statistics and Programs.

Data Visualization: Over the past year, NTTO has developed a number of data visualization tools, which we refer to as “Monitors.” Each is dedicated to a particular NTTO research program and can be accessed either on the program’s landing page or by and clicking on the “NTTO MONITORS-INTERACTIVE DATA TOOLS” card under Statistics and Programs on the research section of NTTO’s website. Current data visualization tools include:

In the near future, NTTO will be releasing a Travel and Tourism Satellite Account Monitor and a Travel Trade Monitor (Annual) which will include country-level detail.

NTTO Research Programs: NTTO Research is centered around a core set of programs that are primarily focused on the economic impact of international travel to and from the United States as well as the overall economic impact of the travel and tourism industry on the U.S. economy.

ADIS/I-94 Visitor Arrivals Program: The  ADIS/I-94 Visitor Arrivals Program provides the official count of visitors to the United States (with stays of 1-night or more and visiting under certain visa types) on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis either by country of citizenship or country of residence. Visitation (Total, Canada, Mexico, Overseas, World Regions and top 15 overseas countries) is updated monthly. Visitation by VISA type, Port of Entry and Age are also part of the program. I-94 data are in easily downloadable excel files and can now be also analyzed through two data visualization tools: The I-94 Visitor Arrivals Monitor (COR) and the I-94 Visitor Arrivals Monitor (COC). Both are available on the  ADIS/I-94 Visitor Arrivals Program page.

The Survey of International Air Travelers (SIAT) is an on-going primary research program that gathers statistical data about air passenger travelers in international markets. Survey data provides information on passenger trip planning, travel patterns, demographics and spending.

The SIAT has been improved with a new methodology that enables NTTO to estimate overseas visitation for all 50 states, territories and approximately 88 cities/MSAs and has been upgraded to a more user-friendly format.  New data visualization tools now allow you to view the SIAT in whole new ways. For example, the SIAT Inbound Survey Monitor allows you to analyze non-U.S. visitation from overseas to the United States.  From its navigation tool, you can sort SIAT data by country of residence, trip planning, travel party size, purposes/activities, accommodations/transportation, destinations, and spending/income.  In addition, you can sort SIAT data by country or region of interest, and perhaps of most interest to you, you can filter SIAT data as it relates specifically to your state or MSA.  For instance, if you want to know how many visitors came from Poland to Chicago in 2020 and their characteristics, you simply click on the appropriate fields in the data visualization tool and that information will populate for you.  SIAT inbound data has been uploaded to the website covering 2012 through 2020. In addition, the SIAT Outbound Survey Monitor will in the near future enable users to perform similar analysis related to U.S. resident visitation to overseas countries.

Inbound Market Profiles: Overseas Visitors to the United States – There are 33 markets (countries), 10 regions, and 6 sector profiles currently posted on the Research homepage.  NTTO continues to work on other market and other sector profiles and will post those as they are completed – so watch that space!

Spending and Balance of Payments Data | Travel and Tourism Satellite Account Information – can also be reached from the Research homepage.  Current and future data visualization tools are putting a new spin on the economic impact of travel.  Again – watch that space!

APIS/I-92 International Air Traffic Data – This program provides information on international air traffic between the United States and other countries. The data has been collected from the Department of Homeland Security - Customs and Border Protection’s Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) since 1996. These data have been obtained electronically since July 2010 from all U.S. and foreign flag carriers who operate United States international arrival or departure flights (Canada is included as of 2011). The  APIS based I-92 system provides air traffic data on the following parameters: number of passengers, by country, airport, scheduled or chartered, U.S. Flag, foreign flag, citizens, and non-citizens.

U.S. Outbound – U.S. resident outbound passenger data is charted by month and region. Overseas and Mexico-air is sourced via the I-92 program. Aggregate U.S. outbound travel to Canada and Mexico is obtained from Statistics Canada and Banco de Mexico/INEGI, respectively.

The I-92/APIS U.S. International Air Passenger Monitor is another new tool that enables users to analyze international air passenger travel between any international U.S. airport and any foreign international airport.

Having shared all this, you can ALSO order custom reports from NTTO if you want to dig DEEP into what international inbound visitors mean to your region, state, destination or business. If you are interested in a custom report, please contact Dick Champley at or (202) 482-4753.

The entire research team at NTTO stands ready to assist you with your data and analysis needs.  Please email me or give me a call – we’re here to help.


David Huether
Deputy Director, Research, National Travel and Tourism Office
Industry & Analysis | International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
MS 10003
Email David Huether
(M) 202-725-5506
(O) 202-482-1757

“You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” – Daniel Keys Moran