International tourists to U.S. on the rise, but not enough

This is Stephanie of IMS.

Recently, the U.S. government’s National Travel and Tourism Office released data on the rise of international visitors to the United States. Roughly 76.9 million people visited the United States in 2017 according to the newest data, with the biggest percentage of visitors from Canada (20.2 million) and Mexico (17.8 million), the U.S.’s geographical neighbors. Japanese tourists made up 3.6 million visitors, with China and South Korea following behind. The most popular states to visit were New York, Florida, and California.

However, despite a global rise in international travel, the U.S. is failing to keep pace with other developed countries such as Canada and the U.K. Global travel is increasing by as much as 7% per year, but visitors to the U.S. are decreasing in recent years, a phenomenon some blame on the Trump administration and its immigration policies. Even the number of international students is waning, with enrollment numbers dropping 4% between 2017 and 2018.

These lower numbers spell trouble for local economies, especially considering that foreign tourists tend to outspend local consumers.