Will Pandemic-Weary Tourists Seek Alternatives to Where they Arrive in USA? The data are hardly conclusive; their numbers would hardly comprise a decent survey sample. Still, the first half of 2020 suggest that there might be some subtle shifts are underway in where visitors to the United States are arriving and/or where they are starting their itineraries.
What leads the INBOUND Report to this notion are, also, the speculative comments of experienced international and receptive tour operators during Connect Travel’s virtual roundtable discussions this spring and summer during which they suggested that clients in the home markets they sell to are showing an interest in destinations that are further away from the traditional big city gateways to the United States.
Another factor has to do with the way one interprets things when one looks a little more closely at data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO). A cursory review of the year-to-date (through June 2020) arrivals at ports of entry in the U.S. vs. the end-of-year arrivals numbers for 2019 show some declines, along with some shifts in rankings in the, NTTO’s Top 15 Ports of Entry data.
—Not all ports are declining at the same rate. Plus, the different rates of decline have mean changes in the rankings of the top ports. Miami is now #1, overtaking JFK. There are other shakeups in the rankings as well. Most ports are up or down one spot, but Chicago and Niagara Falls (the latter is further down on the tables shown below) both dropped two spots. In contrast, Houston has moved up two spots.
—All these shifts have also caused market share shifts in the top ports. Miami has seen the largest increase in its share (+2.6 percent) whereas JFK has the top decline of 1.5 percentage points in share, which shows up in the switch of rankings between the 2 ports.
—To put the declines in context, consider this: the 6.2 million overseas arrivals for the first half of 2020 is dramatically down from the 18.9 million overseas arrivals for the same period in 2019.
—From January to June 2020 the port with the steepest decline was Philadelphia (-75%), and the ports with the least decline was San Diego (-56 percent) among the 30 ports the NTTO provides monthly data on for all overseas arrivals.
Additional Note: For the complete list of 30 ports and information on the same, visit: Top Ports – Country of Residence (COR) .