NEW ORLEANS -- International arrivals to the U.S. will increase
this year and will top 2000 levels by 2004, according to a Commerce
Department forecast released May 27 at the Travel Industry
Association of America's International Pow Wow here.
The forecast, done by the department's Office of Travel and
Tourism Industries twice a year, shows a quicker post-Sept. 11
recovery than it had predicted in October.
Back then, the expectation was that arrivals would not increase
until 2003. International arrivals fell sharply in 2001 to an
estimated 45.5 million, down from 50.9 million in 2000.
The forecast also shows Japan last year lost its long-standing
position as the biggest overseas market for travelers to the U.S.,
and it is not expected to reclaim its top spot anytime in the near
The U.K., which has been number two but steadily gaining,
finally jumped to number one last year with an estimated 4.2
million visitors. Japan sent an estimated 4.1 million.
In an indication of the impact Sept. 11 had on travel to the
U.S., the U.K. became number one by posting less of a decline in
arrivals (11%) than Japan (19%).
The biggest sources of U.S. travelers remain Canada, sending an
estimated 13.5 million in 2001, and Mexico, at an estimated 9.6