In Trends

$1.51 trillion in total sales. That’s how much money international travelers brought in to our country in 2013 (versus $1.46 trillion in 2012), according to the International Trade Administration’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI). If you’d like to take advantage of this increase in international travel, you first need to understand who’s coming, where they’re going and what they’re doing when they get here.

Keeping Our Friends Close (and Our Neighbors Closer!)
The top two spots for visitation go to Canada (23.39 million arrivals) and Mexico (14.34 million). The June 2012 increase in duty-free exemptions spurred a whopping 19% jump in overnight stays by our neighbors to the north. As for an economic boost, Canada maintains its #1 position with $27 billion in spending, and Mexico drops to 4th place with $10.5 billion.

Coming Back to the Colonies
The British ARE coming! 2013 logged 3.84 million arrivals from the U.K., with those travelers dishing out $13.7 billion. These stats launch the mother country to #3 for both visitation and spending. Though it’s important to note that the U.K. is the ONLY top 10 visiting country to not set a spending record in 2013.

Welcoming Japanese Jet-Setters

After a decade of devastating obstacles to traveling abroad—including the 2003 SARS outbreak, 2009 economic slowdown and 2011 nuclear emergencies—Japanese visitors have finally broken their 1995 record with $18 billion in spending. This total places them firmly in the #2 spot for 2013. For visitation, Japan’s 3.73 million arrivals place them at #4.

The World is Flocking to Brazil…and They’re Flocking Here

This past summer, soccer fans had their eyes on Brazil for the World Cup. In 2016, the entire universe will watch as Olympians battle it out in Rio de Janeiro. But in 2013, Brazil measured 2.06 million arrivals on U.S. soil and spent $10.5 billion, putting the country in the #5 position for visitation and spending.

Rounding Out the Top Ten
Where else in the world does the U.S. get its international travelers? There’s a fair representation from most major continents:

International Travel to US by Country

Behaviors by Geographic Market
Now that we know who’s coming to the States, let’s break down where they’re going and what they’re doing when they get here:

Asian Tourists: In 2013, 72% of this market traveled here for pleasure. So it makes sense that an overwhelming majority of them (40.4%) stayed in the Pacific Islands. Their top three activities (note that respondents could give multiple responses) were shopping (84%), sightseeing (81%) and fine dining (38%).

European Travelers: Again, leisure vacations (81%) far outpaced business travel. But it was the Middle and South Atlantic states that captured a majority of this market with nearly 74% of Europeans staying in those regions. What did they do? Lots of shopping (87%), sightseeing (79%) and visiting national parks and monuments (41%).

Central American Visitors: Pleasure trips (78%) outrank business travel yet again. Shopping was the clear winner in this market with 90% of the visitors participating. While here, most Central Americans also took in the sights (59%) and dined in fine restaurants (47%).

South American Guests: The majority (86%) of these hemisphere-hoppers came here for leisure. Shopping remained king with 92% of this market. 71% of guests went sightseeing and 46% visited amusement and theme parks in the Middle and South Atlantic regions.

Now that you know the who, where and why the only remaining question is, “How do I get these international travelers to stay at my property?” Fortunately, Dana Communications can customize a solution for you. Contact me at or 609.466.9187 ext. 117 to learn how we can help you attract internationals.


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