There are multiple sources for U.S.-international travel and related transportation data. These sources include data collected primarily for administrative/regulatory purposes, data collected by air carriers, and data collected through travel surveys. Each source provides pieces of information that are important in analyzing U.S.-international travel. However, no one source is comprehensive, and the United States does not conduct an international travel survey for all modes of transportation for both same-day and overnight travel. Data on both same-day and overnight travel are necessary to evaluate the impact of travel volumes on U.S. transportation systems and services. Reliance on these data creates challenges for direct comparison because the sources may use different definitions, time series, and methodologies.
Country of Residence Data
As part of the documentation process for entry into the United States, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires non-U.S. residents entering the country to complete form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record), collected by a CBP officer at U.S. ports-of-entry. Residents of certain countries, such as Canada, are exempt from filing the I-94. Mexican citizens are exempt if they stayed in the United States for less than a certain time period and remained within a specific geographic area. To accommodate this gap, the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries supplements the I94 data with other sources for those countries. Information on U.S. residents departing or returning by air is collected through the CBP form I-92. Information collected from both of these forms provides data for travel volumes of foreign citizens from specific countries to the United States as well as the destination countries visited by U.S. residents when they leave the United States.
Border Crossing Data
CBP also collects count data on the entry of all persons and vehicles into the United States along the northern and southern borders. These data do not provide travel and trip characteristics. Nor do they identify travelers by nationality, and as such cannot be used to determine the number of persons entering the United States that are U.S., Canadian, Mexican, or residents of other countries. Because of this distinction, these data do not directly correspond to other sources such as travel surveys. However, CBP’s data do show the level of activity at specific border-crossing ports of entry.
Survey of International Air Travelers
Supplementing the travel volume figures available from the CBP administrative data, the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries conducts a Survey of International Air Travelers that provides travel and trip characteristic information on overseas and Mexican air passenger travel to and from the United States. Canadian travel is not currently included.
U.S-Canada and U.S.-Mexico Data
Travel volumes and trip characteristics for same-day travel between the United States and Canada and the United States and Mexico (other than the CBP data mentioned above) are based on travel surveys conducted by Canadian and Mexican government agencies. No comparable data are available from U.S. sources. Overnight travel data between the United States and its North American neighbors are also available from Canadian and Mexican agencies as well as limited information from the International Trade Adminis-tration’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.
For U.S.-Canada travel, travel data are collected through Statistics Canada’s Tourism Statistical Program. The travel data are based on administrative count data as well as a more detailed international travel survey. The administrative count data track crossings and arrivals, modal characteristics, and nationality characteristics at all Canadian ports-of-entry on a census basis (except for a sampling scheme used at seven ports to estimate automobile and motorcycle ﬂows). For U.S.-Mexico travel, the Banco de Mexico utilizes sample survey methods at specific international airports and border cities to collect total visitor data, as well as statistics for trip duration, income level, trip purpose, transportation mode breakdowns, points of departure, and major cities visited under its tourism survey program.
Air carrier data on international travel and transportation are collected by the Office of Airline Information of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. These data include the T-100 segment data collected from approximately 90
U.S. commercial air carriers and cover all scheduled and unscheduled international nonstop commercial traffic arriving and departing U.S. airports for aircrafts of 60 seats or more. Approximately 140 foreign carriers serving or transiting the United States file similar information to the U.S. carriers, which is included in the T-100(f) statistics. The T-100 data will vary compared to the International Trade Administration, Travel and Tourism Industries data due to reporting and collection variances. Interagency efforts are underway to improve the comparability of these data.