A closer look at the latest U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) semi-annual five year forecast for international travel to the U.S. from key international markets shows that, indeed, it is all about China for the next five years (2015-2020), when the number of visitors from the country will more than double, making it the number one overseas source market for the United States.
Just as encouraging as the news for those U.S. travel destinations and suppliers who are “China Ready” and are building product to tap into the market of nearly six million Chinese travelers is the outlook for some traditional, mature overseas markets, especially Europe, whose projected growth is—while not as spectacular as that of China—reassuring and, indeed, promising to those who have product that is familiar and favored by their travelers. Some highlights from the NTTO forecast underscore the point:
Europe—By 2020, arrivals from Europe are projected to be 16.7 million, or 21 percent higher than in 2014. The largest growth from Europe will come from the U.K. (+724,000), France (372,000), Italy (271,000), and Germany (+205,000). These growth forecasts reflect low-growth rates based on large traveler volume bases. For perspective, Western European countries are expected to produce 2.4 million additional travelers in 2020 versus 2014, compared to 548,000 additional travelers from Eastern Europe countries.
Asia-Pacific: Apart from China, this world region is expected to produce a big percent increase in visitors by 2020. While Japan, currently the largest Asian market and second-largest overseas market, is forecast to increase by less than 1 percent each year of the forecast on average to produce total growth of 105,000 additional travelers by the end of 2020. High growth rates and large growth volumes are also expected in 2015 for India (8 percent), Taiwan (7 percent), and South Korea (5 percent). Similarly, these four countries are expected to have among the largest total visitor volume growth of any country through 2020.
South America: South America will remain a top producer of additional travelers for the next several years. By 2020, South America will generate nearly 1.9 million more visitors, a 34 percent increase compared to 2014. Brazil, the largest source market in the region, is expected to build on its 2014 record-breaking performance and increase 5 percent in 2015. By 2020 the United States could host 3.1 million Brazilian visitors, a 38 percent increase from 2014. Argentina, and Colombia, which in 2013 ranked 12th, and 13th, respectively, among overseas markets, offer reassuring numbers through 20202. Colombia should continue its recent growth performances and produce the greatest growth of 478,000 visitors (+54 percent). Argentina’s recent strong growth will turn to declines for the first three years of the forecast period before returning to a growth mode to end the forecast with a higher volume by 70,000 travelers (10 percent).
The Five-Year Outlook—Is it All about China?
Arrivals from Top 15 Overseas Source Marketsᶠ
2020 vs. 2015
|Market, Projected 2020 Rank||2020 Arrivalsᶠ||2015 Arrivalsᶠ||Change in Arrivals||% Change|
|7. South Korea||1,870||1,522||348||29%|
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office
A note here about the disappearance of Venezuela from the above list of Top 15 Overseas Markets. To those who have been following economic and political developments in the country, it is no surprise. Record inflation and its impact on the real-world value of the Venezuelan bolivar vs. the U.S. dollar and other major global currencies has been dramatic. The cost of travel to the USA is much, much higher than it was five years ago. Also, all major international carriers serving the market have cut back or eliminated service to Venezuela because the government has been unable and/or unwilling to pay the carriers the dollar rate for the bolivares held by the carriers—and for which they were paid for flights to and from the country.