Contact: Monica Hill
Visitors Boost U.S. Economy
An unprecedented 50.9 million international travelers
visited the United States in 2000, exceeding last year's record
by 5 percent, says a report issued today by the U.S. Department
of Commerce's Tourism Industries Office.
"The new century marked a healthy increase in international
travel and tourism to the United States," said Acting Under
Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Timothy J. Hauser.
"As one of our leading exports, international travel supports
U.S. jobs and strengthens the economy."
According to the World Tourism Organization, the United States
enjoyed one of the highest growth rates among the most-visited countries
in 2000, joining China, Hong Kong, Italy, and Germany.
The strong turnout of international visitors coincided with strengthening
economies in Asia and South America and steady growth throughout
Europe, Canada and Mexico. More than half of last year's arrivals
were overseas travelers (from countries other than Mexico and Canada).
European visitors made up nearly half of this group, with Asians
coming in next at almost 30 percent, and Latin Americans not far
behind at 20 percent.
Visitors from the United Kingdom exceeded forecasts for 2000 with
4.7 million arrivals, an 11 percent increase over 1999. The boom
in British arrivals offset declines among some Western European
visitors from countries such as Germany and Italy, who were affected
by depreciating currencies against the U.S. dollar, particularly
during the second half of the year.
Japanese travelers comprised more than two-thirds of all Asian
arrivals for 2000. They maintained their lead position among overseas
visitors, nearly recouping to their 1997 level, with over 5 million
arrivals. South Korea moved up four positions to become the sixth-top
overseas source of U.S. tourists, with double-digit growth (33 percent)
in 2000 to 662,000 visitors.
Nearly 3 million South American tourists made the United States
their destination in 2000, an increase of almost 8 percent that
grazed the record high of 1998. The increased volume of visitors
occurred as Brazil's economy saw an upward turn. Venezuelan travelers
continued their growth trend since 1996, with 4 percent more arrivals
in 2000 than the previous year.
For the first time since 1993, Australia made the top ten list
for visitors to the United States, surpassing its 1997 record of
half of a million visitors. Despite hosting the Olympics in 2000,
Australian tourism to the United States grew by nearly 12 percent.
The balance of the visitors to the United States came from our
neighbors to the north and south. Arrivals from North America reached
nearly 25 million. Canadian tourism in the United States increased
3 percent, the second consecutive rise after a two-year slump in
the mid 1990's, with more than 14.5 million visitors. Mexican arrivals
have been increasing since 1997, and at 10.3 million, the year 2000
was no exception.
For more information on travel and tourism, please visit http://tinet.ita.doc.gov.