International visitors to U.S. rise

Internatinal vistors to the U.S rose 6 percent in the first 11 months of 2008 to 47 million from 39.5 million in the same period in 2007, according to latest figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce. However total visitation was 3.6 million in November 2008, down nine percent when compared to November 2007.

International visitors spent $131.8 billion from January through November 2008, an increase of 19 percent over the first eleven months of 2007. Total spending through November has exceeded the full year record spending in 2007 of $122.3 billion. In November 2008, visitors spent $11.5 billion, an increase of two percent over November 2007.HIGHLIGHTS: November 2008 International Arrivals to the United States

*Year-to-date 2008, Canadian visitation grew eight percent over the same period in 2007 driven by land arrivals, up eight percent. At the same time, air arrivals increased nine percent.

*Arrivals from Mexico (traveling to interior2 U.S. points) ddecreased seven percent during the first eleven months of 2008. Land arrivals decreased six percent and air arrivals for the year were down seven percent.

*Overseas (excludes Canada and Mexico) arrivals decreased six percent in November while increasing seven percent year-to-date.

*Visitation from Western Europe was down six percent for November and up 14 percent year-to-date, accounting for 48 percent of overseas arrivals.

*Arrivals from the United Kingdom were down 14 percent in November but up three percent year-to-date. Visitors from the United Kingdom accounted for 37 percent of all Western European arrivals.

*Year-to-date, German arrivals increased 18 percent, French arrivals grew 26 percent, and Italian arrivals were up 25 percent, continuing growth trends from 2007. For the first eleven months of 2008, visitation from the Netherlands grew 22 percent. At the same time, visitors from Spain and Ireland grew 31 percent and nine percent, respectively. Arrivals from Sweden and Switzerland were up 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively, for the year.

*Visitation from Asia decreased two percent year-to-date. Japanese arrivals decreased eight percent year-to-date. Japan accounted for 52 percent of all Asian visitors for the year. Year-to-date, arrivals from South Korea decreased five percent. India and PR China grew seven percent and 25 percent, respectively. Taiwanese visitation decreased five percent in the first eleven months of 2008.

*Arrivals from South America were up 13 percent year-to-date. Year-to-date, double-digit growth in visitation was observed from Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina. From South America, top arrivals were from Brazil, accounting for 30 percent of arrivals from the region.

*Visitation from the Caribbean area decreased nine percent year-to-date. Air arrivals from the Caribbean were also down nine percent for the year. During the first eleven months of 2008, there was a 14 percent decrease in arrivals from the Dominican Republic, a seven percent decline from Jamaica, and a 32 percent drop from the Bahamas.

*Travel from Oceania increased three percent year-to-date. Australia registered a four percent expansion year-to-date. Year-to-date, Australia accounted for 81 percent of all arrivals from Oceania.

*Central American arrivals for the first eleven months of 2008 were down one percent when compared to year-to-date 2007.

*Arrivals from the Middle East increased 10 percent year-to-date. For the first eleven months of 2008, Israel’s visitation increased seven percent.

*Eastern European arrivals grew 14 percent year-to-date. Russian visitation increased 25 percent for the first eleven months of 2008.

*African visitation was up 15 percent year-to-date.

With dramatic changes currently taking place in the global economy, tracking monthly arrivals to the United States is becoming more important to stay informed on the changing developments of the international travel market to the United States.