“By the Numbers” is a periodic look at data on the travel economy from sources outside of the U.S. Travel Association, examining how the numbers align with U.S. Travel’s own research and analysis.

This iteration of “By the Numbers” takes a look at the latest release of data from the Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) on monthly international inbound visitation to the U.S. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department issued preliminary estimates of total international and overseas arrivals to the United States (no country-specific data is yet available) for June-October 2018, as well as full-year estimates of arrivals from Canada and Mexico. So, with this release, we now have official government projections of inbound travel from January through October of last year.

Overview
Total International Arrivals: After increasing 6.7 percent in January-May 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, international arrivals to the U.S. increased 2.0 percent in June-October 2018. For January-October 2018 period overall, total international visitation increased 4.2 percent compared to 2017.  

Overseas Arrivals: After increasing 4.2 percent in January-May 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, overseas arrivals to the U.S. increased 1.6 percent in June-October 2018. For January-October 2018 period overall, overseas visitation is estimated to have increased 2.8 percent.  

Arrivals from Canada: During the first half of 2018, Canadian arrivals to the U.S. increased 6.9 percent compared to the first half of 2017. During the second half of 2018, Canadian arrivals to the U.S. increased 3.2 percent. For the full year, Canadian arrivals are estimated to have increased 4.9 percent.

Arrivals from Mexico: During the first half of 2018, Mexican arrivals to the U.S. increased by 11.5 percent compared to the first half of 2017. During the second half of 2018, Mexican arrivals to the U.S. decreased 2.2 percent. For the full year, Mexican arrivals are estimated to have increased 3.9 percent.

How these figures compare with U.S. Travel’s estimates
While inbound travel showed growth last year, the key takeaway from the newly reported NTTO arrivals data, clearly, is that inbound visitation to the U.S. decelerated dramatically in the second half of 2018. This is consistent with the international component of U.S. Travel’s Travel Trends Index (TTI), which measures inbound travel to the U.S. involving either a hotel stay or airfare; the TTI shows international inbound travel increased by 4.2 percent during the first half of the year and slowed to 2.7 percent growth during  the second half of the year.

Next release
Visitation statistics for all 12 months of 2018 are expected from NTTO in June, at which time U.S. Travel will update its semiannual forecast.

Please click here to see NTTO’s latest visitation statistics. Note: look for “Trend Line Data – Country of Residence (COR). Do not hesitate to email me at dhuether@ustravel.org if you have further questions.