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Visitation to the United States hits all-time record

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The US Department of Commerce has released their latest report, showing a record surge in visitation to the United States in 2012 – with growth of 7% over 2011, or 4 million visitors, the country welcomed 67 million international visitors last year.

The 2012 International Visitation to the United States, available for download at the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, revealed the early impact of an aggressive Brand USA campaign in the competition for world tourism dollars.

The Brand USA has also been very active in creating digital experiences that boost engagement and facilitate long-term engagement with the destination. The development of a consumer facing site,, was a key part of this consumer push.

In fact, earlier this year, research demonstrated that Brand USA was one of the most talked about offline - 45% of real-world conversations in Western Europe mentioned the US, according to the research.

The campaign has catalyzed celebrities and other stakeholders across the USA in a public/private partnership to deliver a concerted effort to boost tourism dollars – and it’s clearly working, as the detailed report showed a solid trend upwards in overall international visitation.

Other tidbits from the government agency includes the following travel trends:

In 2012, the top inbound markets continued to be Canada and Mexico. The year saw a record of non-resident visits from Canada, growing six percent year-over-year. Mexico posted a record 14.5 million visits, an 8% increase. Five of the top inbound overseas regional markets contributed a record level of visits to the United States. Asia grew 15 percent; South America jumped 18 percent; Oceana expanded six percent; Middle East increased 14 percent; Eastern Europe grew eight percent; and Africa was up 14 percent. Visitation from Western Europe dropped 2%, with the biggest decline coming from the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain. Increased visits from Japan, the People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong) and South Korea brought a 15 percent increase in 2012 arrivals. Annual overseas arrivals (excluding Canada and Mexico) totaled 29.8 million during 2012. In 2012, travel from overseas markets accounted for 44 percent of total arrivals to the United States. Twenty-two of the top 50 overseas markets set new visitation records in 2012.

The report provides some very granular information regarding the longer-term visitation trends to the United States, which can reveal opportunities to target particular demographics.

Inbound/Outbound travel:

Top 25 inbound markets:

Business versus leisure breakdown:

Also of interest is where the visitors are arriving:

Download the full report here.

Original author: Nick Vivion
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