Inbound international tourism to the United States consistently draws from Europe and Asia

Annually, the U.S. receives a large volume of international visitors. In 2016, according to U.S. Travel, there were 75.6 million visitors to the United States. Approximately 50% of those visitors were from Canada and Mexico combined. Not surprisingly, Canadians that same year accounted for the highest number of international visitors with 19.3 million visiting the US and Mexico came in second with 18.7 million. The other 50% (or 37.6 million visitors) are comprised from “long-haul destinations”; basically, this means from continent to continent. According to the 2016 U.S. Travel Association report, the top ten countries listed below account for 58% of all overseas visitors to the U.S.A.

  1. 12.2%-United Kingdom
  2. 9.5% - Japan
  3. 7.9% -China
  4. 5.4%-Germany
  5. 5.3% - South Korea
  6. 4.5% - Brazil
  7. 4.3% -France
  8. 3.6%-Australia
  9. 3.1%-India
  10. 2.6%-Italy

Other than Canadians and Mexicans, European visitors still account for the largest market for inbound international travel to the United States even though the number of visitors decreased from 50.4% in 2008 to 39.2% in 2016. While the projection for European visitors to the U.S. for 2020 is roughly 36%, a 3% decline from 2016; the U.S. is expected to see a higher share of Asian visitors. Asians accounted for 24.4% of visitors to the U.S. in 2008, which grew to 30.2% in 2016. The projections for 2020 have the number of Asian visitors to the U.S. growing to an additional 3.6%.

Interested readers can learn review statistics from 2015 by visiting Michigan State University Extension articles on tourism. Michigan alone receives a significant number of international visitors too. According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce between 2014-2016, the top five nationalities that visited Michigan during the two-year study were:

  1. Germany (16 percent)
  2. China (11 percent)
  3. United Kingdom (10 percent)
  4. Japan (10 percent)
  5. India (7 percent)

That same study measured “business travel” to Michigan as well and found that 47 percent of business travelers to MI were from Asia, 41 percent were from Europe and only 8 percent were from South America. These results are regardless of entry point into the USA. An article posted to Michigan State University Extension website highlights these figures for MI residents.

All statistics for the U.S. Travel Association report are sources from the U.S. Department of Commerce. In addition, the U.S. Travel Association provided additional reports on travel and tourism on topics related to expenditures, jobs and exports. This information is available to the public at no cost.    

Michigan State University Extension works with local communities throughout the state to identify strengths and assets to leverage for tourism.



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