US expected to experience major increase in international visitors in 2024


The United States is on target to not only see a healthy uptick in international visitors this year but may also surpass pre-pandemic visitation levels by 2025.

International visitation to the U.S. in 2024 is expected to increase to 77.7 million, a 15.4 percent increase from the 67.3 million international visitors last year, according to forecasts released today by the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO).

And in still more good news for the U.S. travel and tourism industry, the NTTO also estimates international visitation will reach 85.2 million by 2025—a figure that well surpasses the 79.4 million visitors recorded in 2019.

"I’m excited to announce that we are expecting a 15 percent increase in visitors from around the globe in 2024 and continued increases throughout the rest of the decade, which will further bolster America's travel and tourism industry," Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

It's not just 2024 and 2025 that are looking bright for the United States tourism market. The country is also on track to reach 91 million visitors in 2026, exceeding the five-year goal of 90 million international visitors by 2027 that's part of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy.

“Since the beginning of the Biden Administration, the Commerce Department has taken decisive actions to support the travel and tourism industry’s recovery from the economic challenges of a global pandemic,” Raimondo continued. “This 2024 forecast demonstrates that our National Travel and Tourism Strategy is working to help foster a more equitable, resilient, and sustainable industry, boosting economic growth in communities nationwide, and keeping the United States as the number one destination for travel and tourism.”

The report also reveals that 2023 was very strong for inbound tourism. International visitors from all countries to the United States increased dramatically throughout the year. According to the preliminary data, total international visitation increased 32 percent over 2022 to reach 67.3 million arrivals.

Of that total in 2023, overseas arrivals to the United States increased 31 percent to 31.5 million, while Canadian visitors spiked nearly 50 percent. In addition, the number of visitors from Mexico increased by 16 percent in 2023.

When the data for 2023 is looked at in comparison to 2020—which was the first year of the pandemic—the growth in international visitation is even more striking. Total international visitation figures for 2023 represent an increase of 250 percent compared to 2020. Additionally, total overseas arrivals were up 314 percent as of 2023.

That means total international visitation to the United States had rebounded to 85 percent of pre-pandemic (2019) levels by last year, while total overseas visitation reached 78 percent of pre-pandemic norms.

India and Canada Arrivals Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels

Arrivals from two countries in particular—India and Canada—had already surpassed pre-pandemic levels by last year, according to the NTTO report.

Thanks in large part to the combined factors of a strong local economy and increased flight availability, the number of visitors from India has increased 425 percent since the pandemic in 2020 to reach 1.76 million in 2023.

Comparatively, in 2019, the number of Indian visitors to the U.S. was 1.47 million.

Air and land arrivals from Canada were up 344 percent from 2020 to 2023, reaching 21.3 million last year. That figure is three percent higher than in 2019.

The international visitation rebound from European source markets however, has not been as strong.

While the report says the visitation recovery among EU travelers has been “fast and solid,” there's still more room for improvement. Visitation from these markets had returned to 80 percent to 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels by last year.

However, arrivals from European countries are expected to reach or surpass 2019 levels by 2025.

Air traffic is also steadily reaching pre-pandemic norms, according to a separate report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Total traffic in 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 36.9 percent compared to 2022. Globally, in the full year 2023, traffic was at 94.1 percent of pre-pandemic (2019) levels.

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