Record 75 Million International Travelers Visited U.S. in 2014
The U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration announced this week that the U.S. welcomed a record 75 million international visitors in 2014, marking a seven percent increase over 2013.
"Today’s data shows that the United States continues to be the premier destination for international visitors," said Under Secretary of International Trade at the Department of Commerce, Stefan M. Selig in a statement. "It also highlights that we remain on track toward achieving President Obama's goal of attracting 100 million international visitors to the United States by 2021."
The announcement comes one month after the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security sent a report to the President highlighting a strategy to increase the number of international visitors to the U.S.
Canada, Mexico Lead the Way
Unsurprisingly, Canada and Mexico remained the top two inbound markets in 2014. However, visitation from Mexico increased significantly, rising 19 percent to 17.3 million travelers last year. That figure snaps the 2007 record for arrivals from Mexico.
Meanwhile, arrivals from Canada dipped 1.8 percent from 2013, with just under 23 million travelers crossing the border into the U.S. in 2014.
Excluding the U.S.'s North American neighbors, overseas visitation reached a record 34.4 million last year, a 7.5 percent increase over 2013. As a result, overseas markets contributed to nearly half (46 percent) of total international arrivals in the U.S. last year.
Behind Canada and Mexico, the U.K., Japan and Brazil rounded out the top five source markets by country. But while visitation from the U.K. and Brazil rose 3.6 percent and 9.9 percent respectively in 2014, Japan visitation decreased four percent.
Going Up, Going Down
While their total arrival figures paled in comparison to the aforementioned countries, visitation from regions like Africa (up 17.1 percent), the Caribbean (up 15.8 percent), the Middle East (up 15.8 percent) and Eastern Europe (up 15.1 percent) grew impressively in 2014.
The biggest riser among inbound markets in 2014 was China, which saw 21 percent growth to nearly 2.2 million visitors over the course of the year.
The biggest dropoff by far in terms of inbound markets was Venezuela, with visitation from the South American country falling 21.8 percent to just under 616,000 visitors in 2014.
Joining Canada, Japan and Venezuela in the red in 2014, Argentina saw a slight dip (0.2 percent) in visitation to the U.S. last year.
As far as entry points are concerned, the top three ports for 2014 were New York (JFK), Miami and Los Angeles. The three combined to account for 41 percent of all overseas arrivals, marking a slight rise from 2013.
Although it remains to be seen whether international visitation to the U.S. will continue to rise at such a rapid rate year after year, the recent trend suggests that President Obama's goal for the start of the next decade is well within reach.
More by Patrick Clarke
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