Visitor volume in 2013 is expected to increase 3.4 percent and reach 69.0 million visitors who stay one or more nights in the United States. This growth would build on the 6.4 percent increase in arrivals in 2012, which resulted in a record 66.7 million visitors.
According to the current forecast, the United States would see 3.4 percent to 4.3 percent annual growth rates in visitor volume over the 2013-2018 timeframe. By 2018 this growth would produce 83.9 million visitors, a 26 percent increase, and more than 17 million additional visitors compared to 2012. The latest forecast reduces the compound annual growth rate over the forecast period from 4.0% to 3.9%. This downgrade reflects 2013 performances from several key markets that are below spring 2013 forecast expectations.
All world regions except one are forecast to grow over the period, ranging from a low for Central America (+8%) to a high for South America (+65%), the Middle East (+60%), Asia (+59%), and Eastern Europe (+56%). Among the top 20 origin markets, those with the largest expected total growth percentages are China (+219%), Argentina (+78%), Brazil (+70%), Colombia (+66%), Venezuela (+56%), and India (+51%). All countries are projected to produce visitor volume increases, but growth will be small from Jamaica, Bahamas, Netherlands, and most Western Europe countries.
The North America world region will account for a third (37%) of the total visitor growth of 17.2 million visitors by 2018. Asia (29% of total growth), South America (17%), and Western Europe (8%) account for the bulk of the remaining total growth in visitor volume expected in 2018 compared to 2012 actual volume.
Four countries are expected to account for 64 percent of the projected growth from 2012 through 2018. These volume growth leaders are Canada (29% of expected total growth), China (19%), Mexico (9%), and Brazil (7%). Although China and Brazil continue to get the bulk of media attention because of their consistent and very high growth rates, the traditional top origin countries will dictate actual volume growth and the ultimate accuracy of the forecast.
The U.S. travel forecast was prepared by research staff in the Department of Commerce/National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) using economic / demographic / social factors, DOC historical visitation trends, input from the DOC Foreign Commercial Service staff abroad, and numerous other miscellaneous sources. The NTTO travel forecast is updated in May and October each year.