Travel and Tourism United States

U.S. Citizen International Outbound Travel Up Six Percent in 2018

TI News April 2, 2019

Annual 2018/2017 Comparisons

U.S. air travel to overseas markets (1) totaled 41.8 million, up nine percent for the year. Regional results were:

  • Europe, 17.7 million travelers, up 12 percent;
  • Caribbean, 8.3 million travelers, up five percent;
  • Asia, 6.3 million travelers, up eight percent;
  • Central America, 3.2 million travelers, up seven percent;
  • Middle East, 2.4 million travelers, up six percent;
  • South America, 2.1 million travelers, up nine percent;
  • Oceania, 861,000 travelers, up 11 percent;
  • Africa, 432,000 travelers, up seven percent.

U.S. travel to North American markets totaled 51.3 million, up four percent compared to 2017;

  • To Mexico, U.S. travelers totaled a record 36.9 million, up six percent;
  • ‘Tourist’ (longer haul travel) 19.1 million, up four percent;
  • U.S. air travel to Mexico (10.1 million), part of ‘Tourist’, was up three percent;
  • Border (1+ nights travel) 17.8 million, increased eight percent;
  • To Canada, 14.3 million U.S. travelers, ‘flat’ year-over-year. Air travel (4.6 million) was down four percent.

Annual 2018 Market Shares 

U.S. air travel to overseas locations accounted for 45 percent of total U.S. outbound travel, up one percentage point from 2017. Regional composition:

  • Europe, a 19 percent share (up one percentage point from 2017);
  • Caribbean, a nine percent share; (down one percentage point from 2017);
  • Asia, a seven percent share;
  • Central America, a four percent share;
  • Middle East, a three percent share;
  • South America, a two percent share;
  • Oceania, a one percent share, and
  • Africa, almost a one percent share

North American markets received 55 percent of all U.S. international outbound travel.

  • U.S. travel to Mexico a 40 percent share;
  • To Canada, a 15 percent share (down one percentage point from 2017).

Note: Canada and Mexico numbers are preliminary. The above will reflect final changes.

In 2011 NTTO (then OTTI) began to report U.S. outbound travel monthly by all modes, expanding beyond air-only traffic. Total travel, inclusive of all modes, to Canada and Mexico is reported in addition to the air-only subtotals. The timing of this report is dependent data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Stats Canada and Banco de Mexico (INEGI), respectively.

Overseas and Mexico air markets reflect non-stop air-only data. A portion of the non-stop passenger traffic to Europe, Middle East and Mexico will transit those regions, connecting through airline hubs (LHR, AMS, FRA, CDG, DBX, MEX etc.) to points beyond. The adjustment to these regions, reflecting ‘visitation’ (1+ nights), occurs after year-end Survey of International Air Travelers data is compiled and will be available in 2019.

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