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For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Contact: Jim Dyke, 202-482-4883 or Curt Cultice, 202-482-3809

Commerce Department Predicts Record-Setting Travel To U.S. This Year

Report says Growth to Continue through 2004

A record setting 52.9 million international travelers will visit the United States this year, pumping almost $116 billion into the American economy, according to a revised international travel forecast released by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Tourism Industries Office today. The inbound travel forecast predicts the number of arrivals this year will increase by over 2 million or 5 percent more than in 2000, with continued healthy growth through 2004.

"I am proud of America's standing as a top international travel destination, an industry which helps grow our economy and supports more than 1.1 million U.S. jobs," said Commerce Secretary Don Evans. "We expect 2001 will mark the twelfth consecutive year of a travel trade surplus to the US balance of trade."

Tourism is America's fourth largest export category, and the Tourism Industries' forecast shows continual growth in international travel to the U.S. from 2001 through 2004. Last year, 50.9 million international visitors contributed $106 billion in revenues to the U.S. economy. In three years, the number of international visitors to the U.S. is expected to grow to 60.9 million--a 20 percent increase from 2000.

The following are highlights:

  • Continual economic growth in Europe and Asia is key to long-term growth in U.S. visitor arrivals in the new millennium. Europe is projected to see its eighth straight year of increased visitation to America, maintaining its role as the top generating overseas region.

  • Visitors from Europe are expected to surpass 13 million by 2004, an increase of 19 percent over 2000.
  • Asian visitors are forecasted to almost reach 9.3 million by 2004, or a 23 percent growth over the 2000 arrivals total, primarily due to Japanese and South Korean growths in forecasted travelers.

  • During that same period, visitors from South America are projected to outpace the overall growth with 22 percent to reach 3.6 million.

  • Travelers from the Caribbean are estimated to reach 1.5 million, while Central America will approach nearly 1 million visitors by 2004.

  • Arrivals from Canada should continue to show growth for the next five years, reaching 18 million arrivals by 2004, maintaining its top market position. Canada is followed by less optimistic growth from Mexico (14 percent) as the second key national market to the United States.

The forecast data reflect current world economic indicators and use a relationship between past historical international arrival levels to project upcoming visitation for the next several years. The data will be used by the U.S. travel industry to develop strategic analyses of plans to attract even greater numbers of travelers and to expand the export earnings generated from international travel to the country.

The forecast was released at the 32nd annual Travel and Tourism Research Association Conference in Ft. Myers, Florida. The forecast was developed by the US Department of Commerce with the support of DRI-WEFA, a Global Insight Company specializing in economic analysis and forecasts.

The forecast covers more than 30 countries and all world regions. For more information on the forecast, visit the International Trade Administration's Tourism Industries Internet site at http://tinet.ita.doc.gov


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