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HomeStatistics & TrendsInternational visitation in US down 12 percent in Feb.2009
Year-to-date arrivals 10 percent below last year

International visitation in US down 12 percent in Feb.2009

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that 2.9 million international visitors traveled to the United States in February 2009, a decrease of 12 percent compared to February 2008. Total visitation year-to-date 2009 was down 10 percent from the first two months of 2008. International visitors spent $10.1 billion during the month, down 13 percent from February 2008…

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that 2.9 million international visitors traveled to the United States in February 2009, a decrease of 12 percent compared to February 2008. Total visitation year-to-date 2009 was down 10 percent from the first two months of 2008. International visitors spent $10.1 billion during the month, down 13 percent from February 2008.

  • In February 2009, Canadian visitation declined nine percent compared to February 2008 (six months of consecutive decreases). At the same time, land arrivals (540,000) decreased 8 percent and air arrivals (554,000) decreased 10 percent. Year-to-date visitation from Canada decreased 11 percent, with land arrivals (1.1 million) down 13 percent and air arrivals (1.1 million) down nine percent.
  • Visitation from Mexico (traveling to interior U.S. points) totaled 328,000, decreasing 21 percent in February 2009 (nine months of consecutive decreases). For the month, land arrivals (248,000) decreased 18 percent and air arrivals (79,000) declined 29 percent. Overall, traffic for the year was down 13 percent with land arrivals (557,000) down eight percent and air arrivals (174,000) decreasing 23 percent.
  • Overseas visitation (excluding Canada and Mexico) decreased 11 percent in February 2009 (four months of consecutive decreases) and nine percent year-to-date.
  • In February 2009, three of the top 20 countries posted increases in visitation to the United States, with two of these countries growing at a double-digit growth rate. Of the top 20 countries, 17 countries reported decreases in visitation to the United States in February 2009.
    – Brazilian arrivals increased 26 percent in February 2009, continuing its growth trend from June 2006 (33 months of consecutive increases).
     – French arrivals to the United States increased four percent in February 2009.
     – Argentine arrivals increased 10 percent in February 2009, continuing its growth trend from August 2006 (31 months of consecutive increases).
  • Year-to-date February 2009, five of the top 20 countries posted increases in visitation to the United States, with three of these countries growing at a double-digit growth rate. Of the top 20 countries, 15 countries reported decreases in visitation to the United States in the first two months of 2009.
    – Brazilian visitation increased 13 percent in the first two months of 2009. At the same time, French visitation to the United States increased one percent; Chinese visitation increased 16 percent; and Argentine visitation increased 14 percent.

Overseas visitation: Feb.2009 and year-to-date Feb.2009

  • U.S. visitation from the 27 European Union countries declined 14 percent in February 2009 and dropped 13 percent from the first two months of 2008.
  • U.S. visits from Western Europe, 670,000 visitors, accounting for 45 percent of all overseas arrivals, were down 14 percent in February 2009. Year-to-date, arrivals decreased 13 percent and accounted for 41 percent of all overseas visitors.
    – U.S. visits from the United Kingdom, 245,000 visitors, were down 24 percent in February 2009 (six months of consecutive decreases). For the month, visitors from the United Kingdom accounted for 37 percent of all Western European arrivals. Year-to-date, visitation from the United Kingdom dropped 22 percent, accounting for 36 percent of all Western European arrivals.
    – German visits were down 14 percent for the month (two months of consecutive decreases) and down 12 percent year-to-date. At the same time, French arrivals increased four percent in February 2009 and grew one percent in the first two months of 2009.
    – Italian visitation was down six percent in February 2009, but flat for the year. Visitors from the Netherlands and Spain were down seven percent (four months of consecutive decreases) and 10 percent (two months of consecutive decreases), respectively, for the month and down 10 percent and eight percent for the year.
    – Visitation from Ireland decreased 11 percent for the month and 15 percent for the year. Visitors from Sweden and Switzerland were down 18 percent and four percent, respectively, for the month and down 15 percent and three percent for the year.
  • Eastern European visits were down two percent for the month, but up two percent for the year. Russian visitation decreased three percent for the month, while increasing four percent for the year.
  • Visitation from Asia decreased 15 percent in February and 12 percent year-to-date.
    – Japanese visits were 10 percent below the February 2008 visitor level, and down 11 percent for the year. Japan accounted for 64 percent of all Asian visitors for the month and 56 percent of Asian visitors for the year.
    – Visitation from South Korea, the People’s Republic of China and India declined 26 percent, 13 percent and 18 percent, respectively, in February 2009. So far in 2009, arrivals from South Korea and India declined 21 percent and 14 percent, respectively. For the year, arrivals from the People’s Republic of China increased 16 percent.
    – Taiwanese visitation dropped 39 percent for the month and was down 22 percent year-to-date.
  • U.S. visitation from South America was up six percent in February 2009 and five percent for the year.
    – Double-digit growth in visitation was observed from Brazil and Argentina both for the month and year-to-date. Brazilian visitation was up 26 percent for the month and up 13 percent year-to-date. Brazil is the top visitation market from South America, and year-to-date accounted for 37 percent of visits from the region. U.S. visits from Argentina increased 10 percent in February 2009 and grew 14 percent for the year.
    – U.S. visitation from Venezuela decreased 11 percent in February 2009 and declined seven percent for the year. Colombian visits decreased seven percent for the month and dropped five percent for the year.
  • Central American visits decreased seven percent in February 2009 and dropped seven percent for the year.
  • U.S. visitation from the Caribbean was flat for the month and up one percent year-to-date.
    – In February 2009, there was a 54 percent increase in visits from the Bahamas, the top visitation market from the Caribbean region. Year-to-date, visits increased 68 percent.
    – Visitation from the Dominican Republic decreased 11 percent in February 2009 and declined 11 percent year-to-date
  • Travel from Oceania decreased 16 percent in February 2009 and 15 percent year-to-date.
    – Australia registered a 17 percent decrease for the month and a 16 percent decrease year-to-date. Australia accounted for 83 percent of all visits from Oceania in the first two months of 2009.
  • U.S. visitation from the Middle East decreased five percent in February 2009 and four percent year-to-date.
    – Israeli visitation to the United States decreased 12 percent in February 2009 and dropped 15 percent year-to-date.
  • U.S. visitation from Africa decreased 10 percent in February 2009 and declined 4 percent year-to-date.

Top ports year-to-date Feb.2009

In the first two months of 2009, overseas visits (excluding Canada and Mexico) were down nine percent. Visitation through the top 15 ports of entry accounted for 87 percent of all overseas visits, 1.1 percentage-points higher than last year.

The top three ports of entry (Miami, New York JFK, and Los Angeles) accounted for 40.5 percent of all overseas arrivals, up 1.7 percentage-points from the first two months of 2008.

Eleven of the top fifteen ports posted decreases in arrivals in the first two months of 2009. Arrivals decreased by double digits through five of the ports.

In the first two months of 2009, arrivals through Miami increased five percent, moving the port into first place and displacing New York JFK into the second position. Visitation through the Newark airport decreased 16 percent, moving it into fifth position behind Honolulu. Travel through San Francisco decreased 18 percent, dropping it behind Agana (Guam) into seventh position. Chicago fell into ninth position behind Atlanta as travel through Chicago decreased 23 percent.

With arrivals through Ft. Lauderdale increasing 14 percent, this port moved into thirteenth position ahead of Detroit and Dallas. In addition to Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, two other airports that ranked in the top 15 ports posted increases in the first two months of 2009 – Orlando (+2%) and Dallas/Ft. Worth (+3%).

To access top port activity, go to the OTTI monthly arrivals page above and scroll down the page until you see the yellow title bar entitled: 2009 Monthly Top Airports for Overseas Non-Resident Arrivals. Click on the Excel file to view the monthly port figures.

Arrivals to the United States by port-of-entry are tracked on a monthly basis. The U.S. Department of Commerce has arrival data on more than 40 U.S. ports-of-entry from all world regions and 30 countries, with a brief analysis presented on the top 15 ports for overseas arrivals in 2009.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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