Miami-Fort Lauderdale Points of Entry Increase Visitor Share: Among the end-of-the year data sets released by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO) in the past several weeks are those showing the top ports of entry for those overseas visitors arriving in the United States. (“Port of Entry” is a term whose meaning was literal in an earlier age—up to the mid-20th century—when almost all overseas visitors to America did indeed arrive in the United States at a port city.)
Why Miami? Why Ft. Lauderdale? While the data for the top 20 ports of entry revealed little that was obvious in the way of trends, there were points in the data that cause one to speculate on possible meanings. Most interesting to INBOUND were the case of the significant increase in their share of the market were the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale ports of entry (up 1 percent for Miami and 1.8 percent for Ft. Lauderdale.
And during the year of COVID-19 and a global pandemic, the same two cities—Miami and Fort Lauderdale—had the smallest percentage decreases in visitor traffic vs. last year’s cataclysmic drop-off in the number of overseas visitors entering the United States.
It is possible that there was a share increase in 2020 visitors to the U.S. from countries in South America and Latin America because there seemed to be fewer and/or less sweeping lockdowns on travel from the region to Miami and Ft. Lauderdale? Also, the two cities are almost de facto adjoining cities to South Americans and Latin Americans.
And then there is New York. It is likely that the strong increase in 2020 share of the overseas market by New York was largely due to the fact that international air carriers reduced almost all of their flights to U.S. airports—except, for many, those to and from NYC. For overseas business people, New York City is still the “real” capital of the United States … pandemic or no pandemic.
Wait! There is Much More: There is a great deal of information one may obtain from this port of entry table, travel and tourism industry expert Ron Erdmann reminds us. Erdmann, senior research associate at CIC Research, which works with NTTO in analyzing data from the Survey of International Air Travelers (SIAT), points out the following:
—If you look at the rankings for ports of entry between 2019 and 2020 you will see that six ports saw increases between the two year and eight ports registered declines.
—The shifts in rankings can be explained by the different rates of change among the top ports. As noted earlier, Ft. Lauderdale (-70 percent) and Miami (-72 percent), posted the least declines in arrivals. Houston (-76 percent), Dallas (-79 percent), and Atlanta (-80 percent), were the next ports with the smallest declines if you can call these levels of declines small. It’s all relative. In contrast, Philadelphia (-88 percent), Boston (-85 percent), Seattle (-85 percent), and Blaine, Washington (-85 percent) all registered the steepest declines. All five of these ports are among the smaller ports of the top 20.
—New York’s JFK International Airport, which saw a 2.1 percent market share decline in 2020, the largest share loss of any of the top 20 ports. Other top ports seeing larger declines in market share between 2020 and 2019 were San Francisco (-1.1 percent), Los Angeles (-1.0 percent), Chicago and Dallas (-0.6 percent).
—In contrast, in addition to Miami which saw an amazing 5.8 percent increase in market share over the two years, and the previously noted growth in share by Ft. Lauderdale (+1.8 percent), Houston (+0.7 percent), Atlanta and Dallas (+0.2 percent) increases in share show the impact of different levels of declines in arrivals just over these two years.
—And remember, 2019 was a record year for overseas arrivals to the U.S. In 2019, New York, San Francisco, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Agana, Boston and Seattle all set records for overseas non-resident arrivals.
—Between 2019 and 2020 there were 32.8 million fewer overseas arrivals. The ports that saw the largest volume decline in 2020 were in rank order: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and Honolulu. The ports seeing the smallest declines in volume were in rank order: Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, Las Vegas and Seattle.
Additional detail on world regions and top countries for each of these ports and more is available from the NTTO. (See contact information below.)
Need more information? You will find e-mail links and other contact information for key staff at NTT0 here: https://travel.trade.gov/about/contact-us.asp