Saturday, May 28, 2011

Guess Who's Coming to America? DOC Has the Answers

All year long, the U.S. Department of Commerce interviews tourists flying to U.S. airports to find out why they're traveling and where they're going.  They surveyed more than 34,000 visitors coming to America in 2010 to collect data about what's known as Inbound Tourism.

Lufthansa's new A-388 Airbus transports more than 600 passengers to the US several times each day.

After DOC studies the states, cities, and territories that most benefited from overseas travelers to the United States, this information is used to calculate the value of tourism. The good news is that in 2010, overseas arrivals to the United States posted an 11 percent increase compared to 2009.

New York State Leads, followed by Florida & California

New York State was the most visited state by overseas travelers in 2010 for the ninth consecutive year. Although visitation to New York increased eight percent, its market share slipped slightly since its growth was less than the national average. Florida maintained its second position, with a 10 percent increase in visitation. California remained at third position, however increased its market share by experiencing a 21 percent increase in visitation. Nevada, Hawaii, Guam, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas and New Jersey rounded out the top 10 states in visitation estimates.

Of the 20 states/territories for which estimates are available, double-digit increases were experienced by 10 states. This was a reversal from 2009 results in which 10 states posted double-digit declines. Nevada and Washington States posted stunning 32 percent increases, respectively, in their visitation estimates, the highest growth among all states.

The cities most visited by overseas travelers in 2010 were New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Honolulu, Boston and Chicago. Thirteen states posted double-digit increases in 2010 compared to 10 cities that registered double-digit declines in 2009. The largest visitation increases were experienced by Los Angeles, Seattle and Las Vegas, all over 30 percent. Los Angeles regained its spot as the second most visited city in the U.S.

Why are these Tourism Statistics always changing? 

According to DOC, changes in a state or city’s visitation estimate vary from year-to-year due to changes in origin market ‘demand side factors’ and shifts in traveler characteristics. For example:
  • New York State was up eight percent overall, however travel to the state from Asia, Oceania, South America were up 35 percent, 18 percent, and 17 percent respectively. In contrast, New York State experienced a one percent decline in visitation from W. Europe which accounted for 50 percent of its overseas visitation.
  • Florida state visitation was up 10 percent. W. Europe, which generates 46 percent of Florida’s overseas visitors, was only up five percent, however, South America, accounting for 30 percent of visitation, was up 20 percent. The Asia and Pacific regions also posted strong growth, but contributed five percent or less of the visitors to the state.
  • California state visitation was up 21 percent due to 28 percent increase from Asia (35 percent share), and a 40 percent increase from Oceania (11 percent share). W. Europe (40 percent share) registered a 14 percent increase in visits to the state.
Travelers change too.  Changes in key traveler characteristics may also influence visitation, such as, business versus leisure travel, the number of destinations visited, and/or the traveler’s use of transportation within the country.

Some of the key shifts in traveler characteristics that occurred in 2009 compared to 2010, and over the past several years, that can impact the destinations visited include:
  • Increases in leisure travel as a purpose of trip, up two percentage points to 67.9; the highest share since OTTI started the survey in 1983.
  • Business travel’s share dropped slightly in 2010, to 20.2 percent. The share of business travel has declined for three straight years and was down from a high of 30.2 percent in 2000.
  • After five straight years of declines in tour package travel, the share increased to 16.9 percent, the highest figure since 2006.
  • This year, the percent of travelers who only visit one state dropped to 67.1. This is only the fifth drop in this metric in the last 15 years. In 1995, only 61.7 percent of overseas travelers visited only one state. So, we are seeing a long term trend of staying put once they arrive in the country. The high was just over 70 percent and this was reached in 2003, 2004 and 2006.
  • Likewise, there has been a trend in the declining use of automobiles (rental cars, company/private autos) as a mode of transport within the United States. Rental car use was up in 2010 (30.2%), but it has been down seven of the last nine years. Access to private autos has declined seven years in a row, which also impacts secondary destinations. However, there has been a slight shift in inter-city transportation (airlines, rail and buses).
  • Increases in the share of first time travelers to the United States increased in five of the last eight years; it dipped slightly in 2010.
  • Women travelers as a percent of the total have increased to over 44 percent in 2010. Their share has increased nine of the last eleven years.
Learn more about the OTTI and its statistics on inbound tourism.

No comments:

Post a Comment