Courier October Courier - Page 14

BUSINESS 2016 international visitation, spending in the U.S. revealed BY RON ERDMANN, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, NATIONAL TRAVEL AND TOURISM OFFICE TRAVEL IS THE LARGEST services export of the United States, accounting for 33 percent of all services exports and 11 percent of goods and services exports. As an export, travel and tourism totals exceeded receipts from the sales of automobiles, U.S. agricultural products and consumer goods. International spending 2016 travel and tourism exports totaled $244.7 billion, which was down 1 per- cent from record spending in 2015. This is the first decline in total travel and tourism exports since 2009. The travel export total comprised $205.9 billion in travel exports (the money spent by international visitors within the United States) and $38.8 bil- lion in passenger air transport exports (the money paid by non-resident visi- tors to the country for their flights). The decline in total travel exports was largely due to the 8 percent drop in pas- senger air transport receipts, as travel exports were at almost the same as level as 2015. Again in 2016, the top total travel export market was the People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong), posting a record $33 billion. The remaining top five travel export markets were Canada ($20.9 billion), Mexico ($20.2 billion), Japan ($16.1 billion) and the United Kingdom ($16 billion). With the overall decline in travel exports in 2016, there were dramatic differences in the rates of change by market. Only four of the top 10 travel markets posted increases in 2016. They were China (up 9 percent), Mexico (3 percent), India (14 percent) and South Korea (4 percent). Those same coun- tries were the only ones in the top 10 to post record highs in 2016. The top 10 nations accounted for 64 percent of all travel export markets for the coun- try, the same as in the previous year. Information for the top 10 travel export markets can be seen in Table 1. International arrivals The United States welcomed 75.6 mil- lion international visitors in 2016, nearly 1.9 million (2 percent) fewer than the previous year. As with international spending, 2016’s arrivals to the United 12 October 2017 States also saw the first decline since 2009, after setting records for six con- secutive years. Only three of the top 10 arrivals markets posted growth in 2016. They were Mexico (up 2 percent), China (15 percent) and South Korea (12 per- cent). The top 10 international arrivals markets are highlighted in Table 2. In 2016 Canada and Mexico continued as the top inbound markets. Overnight volume from Canada was 19.3 million travelers in 2016, a 7 percent decline from 2015. At the same time, Mexico continued to set records for arrivals when the U.S. hosted 18.7 million visits, an increase of 2 percent. The United Kingdom (-7 percent), Japan (-5 percent) and China (+15 per- cent) rounded out the top five inbound markets. In 2016, only seven of the top 20 inbound visitor markets posted increases in visits; of those, three gener- ated double-digit increases and six set records. The top 20 markets accounted for 88 percent of all international visits to the United States, which is the same as the year before. Annual overseas arrivals (a statis- tic that excludes Canada and Mexico) totaled 37.6 million in 2016. Overseas travel also declined by 2 percent for the year. Travel from these markets accounted for nearly 50 percent of total arrivals to the United States. Watch the NTTO website—travel.trade.gov—for the Top 50 Arrivals Report, which will be released after this issue goes to press. City arrivals and visitation In 2016 the different rates for arrivals at the top ports of entry for inbound travel had a significant impact on the destina- tions within the United States. The top five overseas ports of entry were New York’s JFK Airport (6.4 million), Miami (4.9 million), Los Angeles (4.1 million), Honolulu (2.3 million) and San Francis co (2.2 million). Only seven of the top 15 reported single-digit growth, whereas two of the top 15 ports of entry posted double-digit declines. Each destination within the U.S. is dependent upon a mix of ports that generate travelers to their state, territory or city. It’s the shifts in this mix from year-to-year that determine the volume and rate of change in the