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U.S. Outbound Travel on the Rise

October 12, 2006

U.S. Outbound Travel on the Rise
Oct. 12, 2006 –The United States Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration has revealed that U.S. outbound market grew by three percent in 2005, marking a new record for total U.S. outbound travel. NTA North American tour operators also are reporting an increase in international outbound, with 68 percent offering international outbound tours in 2006, compared to 49 percent in 2003.

According to the ITA, 63.5 million U.S. travelers went abroad, surpassing the 2004 record of 61.8 million. The growth came in travel to the overseas regions, up five percent, and to Mexico, also up five percent. U.S. travel to overseas countries increased to 28.8 million. Travel to Canada declined almost five percent. Spending by U.S. travelers abroad grew up six percent to $95.2 billion/

Mexico was the top U.S. international destination in 2005 with 20.33 million travelers, up five percent. Spending by U.S. travelers to Mexico totaled $11.2 billion, up 10 percent from 2004.

Canada continues to be the second largest destination for U.S. international travelers. In 2005, 14.4 million U.S. travelers visited our northern neighbor, albeit five percent down from 2004. Spending by U.S. travelers to Canada in 2005 totaled $7.4 billion, down five percent from 2004.

The top five overseas markets visited by U.S. travelers in 2005 were the United Kingdom, France, China (combined total for the PRC and Hong Kong), Italy and Germany. Destinations that experienced the highest growth in US visitation between 2004 and 2005 were the Dominican Republic, up 50 percent, Japan, up 40 percent, India, up 33 percent, Hong Kong, up 25 percent, Costa Rica, up 24 percent and the People’s Republic of China, up 21 percent.

Contributing to the new record for outbound travel, seven of the top 25 U.S. outbound destination markets posted records in 2005, including Japan, Dominican Republic, China (PRC), India, Hong Kong, Costa Rica and Thailand. Also, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe, set regional records for US outbound visits between 1985 and 2005.

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