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May 5, 2005
  Contact: Matt Englehart
(202) 482-3809


The United States is projected to achieve record arrivals and receipts by 2006, according to the semi-annual Forecast of International Travel to the United States released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce. In 2006, the United States is forecasted to host more than 52 million international visitors who will generate almost $110 billion in exports. The previous record arrival year was 2000 when over 51 million international travelers visited the United States.

"Pent-up demand and a strong global economy are forecasted to boost visitation to the United States during the next four years," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Services Douglas B. Baker. "This is particularly good news after international visitors added nearly $94 billion to our growing economy in 2004."

In 2004, the United States hosted 46 million international visitors, a 12 percent increase from 2003. The arrivals forecast for 2005-2008 indicates that by 2008, international arrivals will have reached almost 58 million, an increase of 25 percent between 2004 and 2008. A stronger global economy and pent up demand contributed to forecasted growth rates of 6 percent for 2005 and 2006, and a 5 percent increase for 2007 and 2008.

Exports generated by travelers to the United States are projected to grow steadily in 2006 to nearly $110 billion. By 2008, the United States will reach over $126 billion in travel exports. The travel trade surplus is expected to increase to almost $12 billion by 2008.

Forecast Highlights by region

North America - The top two markets generating visitors to the United States are Canada and Mexico. They are forecasted to grow by 23 and 19 percent, respectively, from the base year of 2004 to 2008. Mexico set a record for arrivals and spending in 2004 and is forecast to continue to grow through 2008.

Europe - Visitors from Europe are projected to lead the growth in 2005 and show an anticipated 30 percent growth during the forecast period, generating almost 13 million European travelers in 2008. The United Kingdom will maintain its rank as the top overseas market, increasing 32 percent from 2004 to 2008.

Asia Pacific - Asia is projected to generate annual growth averaging 7 percent each year. The largest Asian market and second-largest overseas market is Japan, which is forecasted to reach almost 5 million visitors by 2008 - up 30 percent from 2004. South Korea is projected to grow 32 percent from 2004; China, including Hong Kong, up 51 percent from 2004; India, up 38 percent from 2004; and Thailand, up 40 percent from 2004. Australia and New Zealand are forecasted to increase 29 percent and 21 percent, respectively, from 2004 to 2008.

South America - South America will grow 31 percent adding more than 2 million visitors. The fastest-growing markets in this region are expected to be Brazil, up 37 percent from 2004; Venezuela, up 33 percent from 2004; and Chile, up 36 percent from 2004.

Travel and tourism represents the top services export for the United States and has produced a travel trade surplus since 1989. For official information on international travel to the United States, including additional information on the forecast for travel to the United States, please visit http://tinet.ita.doc.gov.

Forecast of Top Overseas Travel Markets to the United States

Forecast of International Travel to the United States

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