A huge country with 50 states, the U.S. is undoubtedly one of the strongest nations in the world.
It’s also a very popular destination amongst global travellers, thanks to the sheer diversity of its attractions that include manmade wonders and natural landmarks alike.
From financial metropolis to star-studded cities, there’s something for everyone!
For instance, the epic national parks found when exploring Utah and the epic coastal views and nightlife in Santa Barbara.
Did you know that 79.3 million people visit the U.S. in 2019 alone?
The direct domestic and international traveller spending in 2019 totaled to roughly $1.1 trillion.
Yes, travel and tourism plays a key role in the country’s economy.
Below, we’ve summed up some of the most important statistics about U.S. tourism, including the number of outbound travellers, its most popular destinations, and the effects of the recent Covid-19 pandemic.
Let’s dive in!
Sources: Attached with each stat is the source article or data. For a full list of all the sources used, head to the bottom of the post.
How many people visit the US each year?
There were around 79.3 million international visitations to the U.S. in 2019.
How big is the tourism industry in the US?
The direct domestic and international traveller spending in 2019 was $1.1 trillion, which resulted in $2.6 trillion of economic output.
Which country visits USA the most?
The country that visits the USA the most is Canada, with 20.7 million trips recorded in 2019 alone. This is followed by Mexico with 18.1 million trips.
How much money do US tourists spend abroad each year?
The average U.S. tourist spends $6,080 abroad.
US Travel & Tourism Key Statistics
- The average overseas traveller spent $3,700 during their visit to the U.S.
- The 2022 National Travel and Tourism Strategy aims to welcome 90 million international visitors annually by 2027.
- The most popular travel destination for U.S. resident travellers in 2019 is Mexico, with 39.3 million visitors.
- The travel and tourism industry was the largest services export in 2019, producing a trade surplus of $53.4 billion in.
- In 2019, there were 9.5 million jobs in the American travel and tourism industry.
- 1 in every 20 jobs in the U.S. was either directly or indirectly supported by travel and tourism.
- With 5.42 million foreign visitors in 2020, New York is the most popular city destination in the U.S.
- In 2021, the U.S. hotel and motel market size was valued at $171.1 billion.
- A third of the 9 million direct travel jobs were lost when the pandemic hit in 2020.
- In 2020, the number of outbound tourists from the United States fell to 33.5 million, only one third of the 2019 figure.
International inbound tourism in the US
1. There were around 79.3 million international visitations to the U.S. in 2019.
2. 20.7 million of those were made by Canadian residents.
Canada had the largest share of global visitations to the U.S.
The closest US state to Canada is Alaska, and there lots of interesting things to do there!
3. The second largest share of global visitations to the U.S. in 2019 was from Mexico.
This was followed by the UK (4.8 million), Japan (3.8 million), and China (2.8 million).
4. Excluding Canada and Mexico, the U.S. received 40 million overseas visitors in 2019.
5. The average overseas traveller spent $3,700 during their visit to the U.S.
6. Each overseas traveller stayed an average of 17 nights.
7. However, international arrivals in the U.S. declined to 29 million in 2021. This is a 36% decrease from 2019.
8. The 2022 National Travel and Tourism Strategy aims to welcome 90 million international visitors annually by 2027.
9. There were approximately 5.4 million arrivals to the U.S. by overseas business travellers in 2019.
US outbound travel statistics
10. There were 99.74 million outbound tourists from the United States in 2019.
11. The most popular destination for U.S. resident travellers in 2019 is Mexico, with 39.3 million visitors.
We can see that a huge proportion of U.S. residents who travel internationally prefer to visit nearby countries like Mexico, with 39.3 million visitors in 2019.
12. This is followed by Canada (15 million), the UK (3.9 million), Italy (3.2 million), and France (3.1 million).
France is the fifth most popular destinations for US residents, with 3.1 million trips made in 2019.
13. Barbados received six times the number of U.S. visitors in 2019 than it did in 2014.
14. Over the same five year period, the number of American tourists travelling to Iceland and Morocco rose threefold.
In comparison, 177 thousand Americans travelled to Peru in 2021.
15. As of July 2022, a survey reported that 36% of Americans plan to travel over the next three months.
16. In 2019, 9.4 million trips were taken to the Caribbean from the United States.
17. 19 million trips were made in 2019 from the U.S. to Europe. This decreased by 86.4% in 2020.
There were a total of 19 million European trips made by Americans from the U.S. in 2019, while only 2.58 million such trips were taken in 2020.
18. The total trips taken to Mexico by air fell from 10.2 million trips in 2019 to 5 million trips in 2020.
19. 63% of adults in the United States have taken a staycation, while 37% have not.
Staycation refers to a holiday spent in one’s home country or city, often involving visits to local attractions.
According to Thrillist, Moab is one of the top staycation destinations in 2023. Surrounded by scenic landscapes and national parks, the best things to do in Moab are centered around its nature.
American travel & tourism economy
20. The travel and tourism industry was the largest services export in 2019, producing a trade surplus of $53.4 billion in.
It’s an extremely important industry with a huge role in lowering the country’s overall trade deficit.
21. Without the tourism industry, the U.S. trade deficit would be 9.3% higher at $630 billion, instead of $576 billion.
22. In 2025, international travel spending in the U.S. is predicted to reach $198 billion.
23. Overall, domestic and international travellers spent over $680 billion in 2020.
24. This number comprises of $642.2 billion by domestic travellers and $38.1 billion by international travellers.
25. The direct domestic and international traveller spending in 2019 was $1.1 trillion, which resulted in $2.6 trillion of economic output.
26. The total domestic and international expenditure on business tourism in the United Sates was $354 billion in 2019 alone.
The G20 member country with the highest business travel spending in 2019 was the U.S.
Jobs in American travel & tourism industry
27. In 2019, there were 9.5 million jobs in the American travel and tourism industry.
28. 1 in every 20 jobs in the U.S. was either directly or indirectly supported by travel and tourism.
Jobs varied in different fields, including food services, arts, entertainment, and transportation.
29. In 2022, 5.1 million people are employed in the U.S. tourism industry.
30. In terms of employment growth, the number of employees in the travel industry has decreased by 2.9% on average between 2017 and 2022.
This decline is mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
31. Tourism businesses in the United States have an average of 10.4 employees.
32. In terms of employment, travel was within the top 10 industries in 49 states and D.C.
This became only in 25 states in 2021.
33. The American glamping industry was worth $463.7 million in 2021, or 28.9% higher than 2020.
[Grand Review Research]
A subsector in the US travel and tourism industry that is on the rise is the glamping industry, which had a market share of $463.7 million in 2021.
Popular travel destinations in the US
34. With 5.42 million foreign visitors in 2020, New York is the most popular city destination in the U.S.
35. New York is the city with the fourth most cultural attractions worldwide, with 2,119 attractions open to the public.
The city with the highest number of cultural attractions is Tokyo.
36. After New York, the most popular city destinations in the U.S. are Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.
As the fourth most popular city destination in the US, there are surely many things to do in San Francisco.
Likewise, there are also lots of things to do in Las Vegas that would cater to different types of travellers.
Read more: Las Vegas Travel & Tourism Statistics
37. The cheapest city in the U.S. for backpacking is New Orleans, with an average cost of $94.7 dollars per day.
New Orleans is reportedly the most affordable city destination for backpacking in the country.
This includes a dorm bed in a hostel, three budget meals, two rides on public transportation, one paid visit to a cultural attraction, and a small entertainment fund.
38. The second cheapest U.S. city for backpacking is Miami Beach ($97.9 per day).
And surprisingly, LA is the fourth cheapest city for backpacking in the US. There are quite a lot of things to do in Los Angeles that are free or affordable.
US travel & tourism activities
39. The most popular cultural activity for travellers in the U.S is visiting history or art museums (65% of respondents).
40. For overseas visitors to the U.S., shopping is the most popular activity (54%), followed by visiting historical or cultural sights (49%) and dining in restaurants (49%).
Shopping is one of the things you must do when in Seattle, as it’s full of independent shops and major department stores alike.
41. 33% of visitors will usually book a beauty and spa session during their stay in the U.S.
42. 15% of people who visit the United States will stay at a mindfulness or meditation retreat.
43. In 2020, Magic Kingdom (Walt Disney World) had 7 million visitors, making it the world’s most visited amusement park.
It received 20.96 million visitors in 2019, much higher consider the pre-pandemic circumstances. This was also the highest number of visitors compared to other amusement parks worldwide.
44. Disney’s Animal Kindgom recorded 4.17 million visitors in 2020. It’s the fifth most visited amusement park in the world.
45. The most visited waterpark worldwide is the Typhoon Lagoon at Disney World, in Orlando, FL. It welcomed 2.25 visitors in 2019.
46. As of March 2020, 51% of travellers in the U.S. believed there were not enough sustainable travel options available.
Sports impact on US travel industry
47. The total size of the North American sports market (United States, Canada and Mexico) was $71.1 billion in 2018.
48. In 2018, over 150 million people attended professional events for the five major sports leagues.
The five major sports leagues include MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLS.
49. With 190 million domestic trips, sports travel constituted 8% of the domestic travel market in 2018.
50. Travellers attending or participating in a sports event spent an aggregate of $41 billion.
51. In 2019, 37% of international travellers in the U.S. said they were interested in an NBA, NFL or MLB experience.
This was an increase from 24% in 2018, which indicates a growing demand from international travellers to attend American sporting events.
US hotels statistics
52. In 2021, the U.S. hotel and motel market size was valued at $171.1 billion.
This has increased from the total of $127 billion in 2020, and is expected to rise to $258.13 billion in 2022.
53. The U.S. hotel occupancy rate in 2021 is 57.6%, an increase from just 44% in 2020.
54. There were 33.9 million adults using Airbnb in the United States in 2017. This is expected to reach 45.6 million in 2022.
In 2017, 33.9 million adults used Airbnb in the United States.
55. As of January 2022, an average hotel room in Miami cost $304, the highest out of all other American cities.
The average rate for a hotel room in New York was $235, which is the second most expensive in the country.
56. The revenue per available room (RevPAR) of the American hotel industry was $72 in 2021, compared to $45.48 in 2020.
The revenue per available room is calculated from the average daily rate (ADR) and the occupancy rate.
57. The leading hotel company in the Americas is Wyndham Hotel Group, with approximately 7,000 properties there.
The second and third place fall to Choice Hotels International and Marriott International respectively.
58. In terms of number of guestrooms, Marriott International takes the title with 985,756 guestrooms in the Americas alone.
This is followed by Hilton Worldwide with a total of 757,431 rooms.
59. 3 in 4 hotels in the US allow pets.
Approximately 75% of all hotels in the United States allow pets, which is a huge encouragement for people who want to travel with their pets.
US tourism booking
60. 48% of all experience bookings are made after travellers arrive at their destination.
61. In 2019, “near me” searches on Google Maps grew 150% from the previous year.
62. 51% of US travellers spend less than a week researching once they decide to go on a trip.
Just over half of travellers from the U.S. spend less than one week to research and plan their trip.
63. The most bookings are made at 10am CET, while 6am CET is the time of the day with the least amount of bookings made.
The highest number of online bookings for US travellers are made at 10am CET.
Why Americans travel
64. 55% of gen Z travel to expand their knowledge and experience, while 40% travel to avoid stress and relax.
65. 37% of millennial and gen Z travellers are most willing to splurge on food and drink experiences.
Taking food tours is one of the best things to do in Portland, as it’s a true haven for foodies.
In fact, 37% of millennial and Gen Z who travels are willing to spend more on culinary experiences.
66. They are least willing to splurge on accommodation and airfare upgrades.
67. 66% of solo travellers travel alone because they want to see the world without having to wait for others.
In the US, 66% of solo travellers say that they like to travel alone because of the ability to explore without waiting for other people.
68. 48% of solo travellers like the feeling of freedom and independence.
69. Other popular reasons for solo travelling include wanting to meet new people, for personal growth, and having different interests than their friends.
70. In 2019, U.S. travellers took 464 million domestic business trips.
71. 28% of family travellers travel for play vacation, while 27% are for a relaxing trip. 13% say that their trips are a holiday to visit family or friends, and 11% are for a sightseeing vacation.
Family vacation is one of the major reasons for travelling in the U.S. In fact, 28% of family travellers travel for play vacation.
Covid-19 pandemic impact on US travel & tourism
72. From February to April 2020, 8.2 million jobs were lost in the leisure and hospitality industry.
This accounted for 37% of the total decrease in nonfarm employment during this period.
73. A third of the 9 million direct travel jobs were lost when the pandemic hit in 2020.
74. In 2021, 2.3 million jobs generated by travel were still lost, which means it was back to only 75% of pre-pandemic levels.
75. International arrivals rose back up in 2021, rising to 22.1 million from just 19.2 million in 2020.
This was a huge effect of the global vaccination programs and lifting of international and domestic travel restrictions.
76. In 2020, the number of outbound tourists from the United States fell to 33.5 million, only one third of the 2019 figure.
77. In 2021, that figure rose to 49.1 million.
78. Travel exports decreased dramatically by almost 65% from 2019 to 2020.
79. In terms of how many personal trips baby boomers are planning to take within the next year, 34% answer 4 or more.
34% of baby boomers in America wanted to take 4 or more personal domestic trips in the next year.
As a global finance and culture center, it’s only natural that tourism in the United States will continue to grow, especially as we transition into a post-pandemic era.
Hopefully, this post has been comprehensive enough to help you understand more about travel and tourism in the U.S.A.
Did we miss any interesting aspect?
Drop us a comment below!
And check out these other insightful statistics…
published 2023-10-10 12:20:43