1.7% jump in US tourism in first quarter reverses two-year slide

On the eve of President Trump’s first official overseas trip as president, travel firm Amadeus reports that the number of international travelers headed to the United States grew by 1.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year. The rise reverses a recent trend that saw the number of international tourists see a steady decline over the past two years.

One factor pushing international visitors back to the United States is the volatility in the value of the US dollar, as shown in the chart at the top of this post. Though the US dollar has stabilized somewhat since March, it is still weaker than the dollar from a year ago, further enticing international travelers to choose US destinations. One of the countries leading the way in welcoming US travelers is China, with increasing numbers of Chinese coming to the United States every month — a 22 percent jump over the same period last year.

However, visitors from the eurozone (Germany, France, Italy) also continue to see a steady increase, to an all-time high of 3.5 million visitors in the first quarter of 2017. And what of the United Kingdom, home to the Statue of Liberty and one of the United States’ longest running international tourism campaigns? In fact, from the end of the cold war through the early 2000s, the number of British tourists visiting the United States swelled to about 10 million per year, peaking in the early 2000s.

A trend that helped to attract British visitors is now reversing, however, with the UK’s weak currency helping to draw American travelers to the United Kingdom rather than just travel to other destinations. British tourists now make up just under half of the annual international visitors to the United Kingdom.

Additional prominent destinations to watch for visitor numbers include Japan, Canada, Australia, and South Africa.

Leave a Comment