The Number of Foreign Travelers is Increasing

The International Trade Administration’s Tourism Industries office reports that 26 million foreigners come to the United States each year on tourist visas. The average foreign guest spends $1,647 per person of which $318 is spent on gifts and souvenirs. Gross revenue from these tourists total an estimated $91 billion a year.

Two-thirds of all overseas guests only visit one state. In 2001, California attracted 24.5% of all foreign guests followed by Florida (23.2 percent), and New York (22.8 percent).

The majority of our foreign guests come from Canada (29%) and Mexico, (20%).

Overseas guests seem to prefer distinct regional areas. In-flight surveys conducted by the International Trade Administration’s Tourism Industries office suggest that Asians tend to visit the West Coast and Hawaii. Europeans visit the East Coast and visitors from South America enjoy Florida.

With this being said, the ten most popular cities visited by foreign tourists in 2002-2003 were in order of preference:

1. New York
2. Los Angeles
3. Miami
4. Orlando
5. San Francisco
6. Honolulu
7. Las Vegas
8. Washington, DC
9. Chicago
10. Boston

Nearly 1 in 3 overseas guests, (31 percent) visit amusement or theme parks. 1 in 5 visit a national park.

Since the United States dollar has lost ground to the Euro, (20% within the last two years), the United States is becoming an increasingly favorite destination for European tourists.

Visitation from Western Europe grew 3 percent over August of 2004 and was up and average of 7 percent year-to-date with many tourists coming from Italy and Spain. Tourism from Eastern Europe is also on the increase, up 15 percent for the first eight months of 2005.

Source: International Trade Administration’s Tourism Industries