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Contact: Monica Hill
Monday, October 25, 1999

Commerce Report Predicts Record International Travelers
to the U.S. in 2000 and Solid Growth Through The Year 2003

Washington, D.C .-- A new report recently released by the U.S. Department of Commerce predicts a record 46.4 million international travelers will visit America in 1999, pumping more than $94.2 billion into the U.S. economy and supporting additional U.S. jobs.

"As the global economy improves over the next year, international visitors will expand the growth of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses, and continue to generate a positive travel trade surplus," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Tourism Industries Leslie Doggett. "International travel to the U.S. already supports nearly 1 million U.S. jobs across a wide-range of sectors, a figure that continues to grow."

Tourism is America's third largest export, and the study forecasts continued growth in international travel to the U.S. from 1999 through 2003. In four years, the number of international visitors to the U.S. is expected to grow to 52.4 million.

Continued growth from Europe and economic recovery in Asia and Latin America are key to continued long-term growth in visitor arrivals in the U.S. in the new millennium:

  • By the year 2003, visitors from Europe are projected to be America's number one overseas visitors. They are expected to surpass 13 million, an increase of 22 percent over 1998.

  • Asia will rebound strong in some countries like Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, while Japanese arrivals will recover at a slightly slower pace.

  • During that same period, visitors from South America are forecast to increase to as much as 3.6 million, with continued success of Brazil's economic reforms being key.

  • Central America could reach 874,000 visitors and the combined total of visitors from these two regions could climb to 4.5 million by 2003, maintaining their position as the top two markets for international arrivals to the U.S.

  • Canadian and Mexican visitor arrivals during the forecast period should have moderate growth through 2003 and remain significant markets for international visitors to the U.S.

The forecast data reflect current world economic indicators and international visitor levels for early 1999. The data will be used by the U.S. travel industry to develop strategic analyses of plans to attract even greater numbers of tourists.

The study covers more than 30 countries and all world regions is available on the Tourism Industries website at (http://tinet.ita.doc.gov).




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