Tourism is an enormous worldwide industry. In 2004, Japanese visitors’ expenditures were largely responsible for the U.S. travel and passenger fare expenditures surplus (see table 2.1). They spent almost $10 billion dollars more in the United States on travel and passenger fares than did U.S. residents traveling in Japan. The United States ran travel and passenger fare deficits of approximately $2.5 billion dollars with Mexico and $1.8 billion dollars with Europe.
All regions of the United States attract visitors from overseas, but the majority of travel is concentrated in a few states. Out of the 26.6 million visitors to the United States and territories, the top 5 states (New York, Florida, California, Hawaii, and Nevada) drew 63 percent of the total (see table 2.2A). Among overseas visitors to the United States in 2004, 70 percent visited just one state, 17 percent visited two states, and 13 percent visited 3 or more states. That same year, international visitors to the United States spent an average of $2,990 per trip, and their average international airfare was $1,380 (US DOC, ITA 2004).
As for U.S. residents traveling abroad, Mexico and Canada accounted for the majority of overnight visits as millions crossed their borders, but 19 other countries attract at least 500,000 U.S. visitors each. Those traveling to Canada and Mexico typically travel in personal vehicles crossing at major Northern and Southern border ports-of-entry, while those going overseas typically ﬂy. This affects travel receipts. The average amount of money spent on an international trip by a U.S. resident was $2,920, with an average international airfare costing $1,400 in 2004. [US DOC, ITA.]
Among the top 10 countries for arrivals in the United States for overnight visits, only Mexico showed a gain between 2000 and 2004. The gain in overnight arrivals from Mexico was substantial—1.3 million more in 2004 than in 2000.
- In 2004, U.S. residents spent nearly $66 billion in travel payments in foreign countries. About $20 billion of these travel payments were for travel within European Union countries with the United Kingdom accruing the largest share of payments, followed by over $9 billion in Mexico and $7 billion in Canada.
- The European Union member states as a group generated nearly one-third (31 percent) of the total travel receipts for the United States.
- Among individual countries, Japan led in generating travel receipts for the United States—over $13 billion.
- In 2004, U.S. residents spent $89 billion dollars on international visits, including travel and fare payments. Foreign residents spent $93 billion in the United States, including travel and fare payments, bringing the total tourism balance to a surplus of almost $4 billion in 2004.
- Between 2000 and 2004, payments by U.S. residents have remained fairly steady while receipts from foreign residents (fares for travel to the United States) declined 10 percent. The decline in total receipts from foreign residents during this time period contributed to a reduction in the surplus.
- Pennsylvania was the only state ranked among the top destinations to experience an increase in overseas visitors from 2000 to 2004.
- Five states—New York, Florida, California, Hawaii, and Nevada—were each destinations for more than 1.5 million overseas visitors in 2004.
- Philadelphia was the only city ranked as a top destination for overseas visitors that saw an increase (nearly 10 percent) in the number of visitors from 2000 to 2004.
- Despite year-on-year decreases in the number of overseas visitors to New York City from 2000 to 2003, the city remained the top destination for overseas visitors during the entire 2000 to 2004 period.
- Of the top 20 foreign gateways for nonstop air travel with the United
States, nine are in North and Central America or the Caribbean; six are in
Europe; four are in Asia; and one is in South America.
- The top three foreign airports for travel to and from the United States are
London’s Heathrow Airport, Tokyo, and Toronto.
- London is the top gateway city for air travel to and from the United
States, with two airports (Heathrow and Gatwick) in the top 20 foreign
Table 2.3 & Figure 2.3
- While there were 3 percent fewer international passengers at the top 20 U.S. gateways in 2004 than in 2000, a sizable rebound took place between 2003 and 2004.
- Seven of the top 20 U.S. gateways had increases in international passengers, most notably the Charlotte and Detroit airports, which grew by 90 and 42 percent, respectively. Washington-Dulles, Houston Intercontinental, and Atlanta grew more than 10 percent.
- The number of international passengers declined at 13 of the top 20 U.S. gateway airports.
- Eight of the top 20 busiest routes are with airports in London and five of the top 20 routes are with Tokyo.
- The number of passengers traveling between Miami and London’s Heathrow Airport more than doubled between 2000 and 2004, the largest percentage increase among the top 20 routes for U.S.-international travel.
- The number of passengers traveling between Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and Toronto’s Pearson International Airport decreased by 21 percent, the largest percentage decline among the top 20 routes for U.S.-international travel from 2000 to 2004.
- Ten countries had at least one million overnight visits from U.S. residents in 2004. Of these, only Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Mexico had more visits in 2004 than in 2000.
- Latin American countries drew increasingly large numbers of U.S. residents from 2000 to 2004. Trips to Costa Rica increased 113 percent, placing the country among the top 20 countries visited by U.S. residents. Travel to El Salvador increased almost 87 percent, Columbia 81 percent, and Peru 27 percent.
- Many of the top 40 countries visited by U.S. residents experienced increases in international passenger travel in 2004 over 2003 totals. The countries that show the biggest increases during that time period were Norway (124 percent), the Philippines (63 percent), the Czech Republic (62 percent), and Peru (53 percent).
- Each of the top five countries had more than 1 million overnight arrivals in the United States in 2004, with the next five countries having more than 400 thousand. Between 2003 and 2004, all of the top 40 countries except Peru had an increase in visitor arrivals in the United States.
- There were 1.3 million more overnight arrivals in the United States from Mexico in 2004 than in 2000. Besides Mexico, only Ireland, India, Denmark, Ecuador, and Poland had gains in arrivals in the United States between 2000 and 2004.
- In 2004, there was more nonstop passenger travel between U.S. airports and Canada (19.3 million passengers in 2004) than with the United Kingdom (17.9 million)—a change that occurred in 2001 and has continued in subsequent years.
- Air passenger travel between the United States and Mexico in 2004 was only slightly less than air travel between the United States and the United Kingdom.
- Fewer air passengers ﬂ ew between the United States and the United Kingdom and the United States and Japan in 2004 than in 2000. By contrast, more air passengers ﬂew between the United States and Canada, Mexico, and Germany in 2004 than in 2000.
- In 2004, U.S.-international air revenue passenger-miles climbed to 194 billion miles, exceeding the prior record level (193 billion RPMs) reached in 2000 and reversing the yearly declines after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
- Between 1994 and 2004, U.S. air carriers’ domestic and international revenue passenger-miles increased about 30-percent compared to a 38-per-cent increase in U.S. gross domestic product.
- U.S. international revenue passenger load factors, a measure of occupied seating capacity, was 78 percent in 2004 compared to 71 percent in 1994.
- Load factors declined 3 times within the 10-year period; the largest decline of 3 percent was from 2000 to 2001. Not surprisingly, the largest rebound (3.6 percent) during this 10-year period was from 2001 to 2002 with 3.6 percent.