Chapter 1 Travel Trends to and from the United States by International Region

Chapter 1
Travel Trends to and from the United States by International Region

People going through airport security gatesU.S.-international travel rebounded in 2004, showing growth from 2003 and surpassing pre-9/11 levels in a few categories. In two categories, U.S. residents traveling overseas and Mexican residents visiting the United States, the number of visits in 2004 even surpassed 2000 levels. (see table 1.1). In 2004, the majority of U.S.-international travel, about 86 percent, was with Canada and Mexico, and most of this was same-day travel. In 2004, U.S.-international overseas travel increased by 12 percent over the 2003 total, from 42.5 million to 47.7 million visits (table 1.2), surpassing the 47.1 million visits made in 2001. Countries within the European Union are the top regional origins and destinations for U.S. overseas travel, accounting for 21.9 million visits in 2004, surpassing 2001 levels. From 2000 to 2004, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean experienced the fastest growth (25 and 15 percent, respectively).

Table 1.1 & Figure 1.1

  • In 2004, travelers made 338 million visits between the United States and other countries, an increase of 5 percent from 2003, but still below the 2000 level.
  • The 2004 increase compared to 2003, contrasts with declines in the number of visits in 2001, 2002, and 2003.
  • Canada and Mexico accounted for almost 86 percent of travel to and from the United States. While most of these North American visits were same-day travel, more than half (56 percent) of all overnight U.S.-international visits are with Canada and Mexico.
  • In 2004, U.S. residents made 61.8 million overnight visits (visits of at least one night) to foreign countries, surpassing the prior record in 2000.
  • In 2004, travelers from overseas made 20.3 million visits to the United States—an increase over arrivals in 2003, but still less than in 2001.
  • Overnight travel to and from the United States and overseas countries increased 12 percent in 2004 compared to 2003. U.S. residents made 2.9 million more visits overseas, and travelers from overseas made 2.3 million more visits to the United States in 2004 than in 2003.

Table 1.2 & Figure 1.2

  • The top two overseas regions for travel with the United States are Western Europe and Asia (42 and 22 percent of these trips in 2004, respectively).
  • Compared with 2000, travel between the United States and several overseas regions—Central America, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa—was up in 2004 in terms of visitor numbers. Travel with Central America grew the most rapidly—45 percent over the period.
  • Travel between the United States and the Middle East decreased 26 percent from 2000 to 2004—the sharpest decline among overseas regions— but picked up between 2003 and 2004.
  • Africa had the least amount of travel with the United States.

Table 1.3

  • In 2004, residents of the United States, Canada, and Mexico made about 60 million overnight visits to the adjoining country. Slightly more of these visits were between the United States and Mexico—52 percent—than between the United States and Canada—the remaining 48 percent.
  • U.S. residents make more overnight visits to Mexico and Canada than they do to all other countries combined. More U.S. overnight visitors go to Mexico than Canada.
  • Canadian and Mexican residents make more overnight visits to the United States than do overnight visitors to the United States from all other countries combined.
  • Canadians make more overnight visits to the United States than Mexicans, but the number of Canadians taking overnight visits to the United States declined, while the number of overnight visits by Mexicans increased between 2000 and 2004.
  • In 2004, Mexican residents made almost 12 million overnight visits to the United States—a 12-percent increase from 2000; this was the highest increase among categories of overnight travel.

Table 1.4

  • There were four and one-half times more same-day visits between the United States and Mexico than there were between the United States and Canada in 2004—189 million same-day visits versus 41 million.
  • Same-day travel from the United States to Mexico increased by 3.5 million visits from 2003 to 2004; during the same time period, travel from Mexico to the United States increased by 4.5 million visits.
  • Same-day travel between the United States and its two neighbors declined by 10 percent between 2000 and 2004 but rebounded a bit between 2003 and 2004 as more Mexicans and Canadians visited the United States and more U.S. residents visited Mexico.