The just-released United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has positioned the United States at Number 3 among international tourist destinations, having been overtaken as Number 2 by Spain. The UNWTO had projected such a change in rank nine months ago.
The change in the position of the USA on the world’s Top 10 International Tourist Destinations reflects a real decline in visitors to the United States, as well as a decline in global market share-continuing a downward trend that has been in place for a decade or so.
Not noted in the UNWTO numbers was a confirmation, of a sort, of the last forecast of total U.S. international inbound traffic by the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO). The just-released UNWTO figure put international arrivals to the U.S. for 2017 at 75.9 million. Last January, NTTO projected a total of 75.1 million international visitors to the United States once final data for 2017 were complete. (However, NTTO last April announced that it was suspending the release of arrivals data due to some technical problems with the way arrivals numbers were being tallied and reported to the agency.) The closeness of the two numbers suggest that NTTO is not far off the mark—even with a projection that relied on faulty data.