WASHINGTON--Overseas arrivals to the U.S. fell 1% in the first half
of this year, according to figures from the Commerce Department's
Tourism Industries Office. But given the dramatic 13% decline in
Asian arrivals, a drop of only 1% overall is "good news," the
The decline in Asian arrivals was nearly offset by growth in
Central America (up 26%), South America (5%) and western Europe
(4%), the office noted. Also up: the Middle East (8%), eastern
Europe (5%) and Africa (15%).
Meanwhile, closer to home, economic troubles and a weak dollar
in Canada resulted in a 7% drop in arrivals in the first half,
including 12% in June alone. Better news came from south of the
border, where Mexico arrivals by air climbed nearly 11% in the
first half. Canada and Mexico are not counted as part of the
overseas arrivals figures.
Here's a closer look at some of the regions.Asia: Japan, the No. 1 overseas market for the U.S., continues
to deteriorate, down 6% in the first half and 7% in the second
quarter, including 11% in June alone. South Korea fell a dramatic
59% for the half. However, the office saw a ray of Asian light in
the reunified Hong Kong and China numbers, up 8% in the second
quarter.Europe: U.K. arrivals, which have been growing at a
double-digit rate, kept the streak intact at 12% in the first
quarter but slipped to 9% growth in the second. German arrivals
continued to decline. France's first quarter was 11% higher, but it
fell 1% in the second.Central and South America: Most of the countries finished on
the up side, thanks to a strong surge during Easter break.
Venezuela and Colombia ended the half with double-digit growth.
Brazil continued to decline but more in the first quarter than the