Inbound, US Tourism on the Rise…But It’s Not Who You Think

Aug 12th, 2010 | By travelnews | Category: Travel

Airline News Resource
The UK has usually been the country with the largest number of inbound passengers to the United States.

It still is. But recent trends have made a very different picture for the rest of this month’s list, and the growing availability of cheap international flights to the US is surely a big driver of this change.


Turkey had the most significant change, going from 28th on the list to 14th. While still far below Russia and Portugal, it now ranks amongst the top 20. America’s growth in popularity amongst Turkish travelers is perhaps due to a recent strengthening of the Turkish lira against the US dollar. 


Portugal went from the 17th position to the 11th, a significant gain for the small European nation. Another country that has made notable gains in the list is Russia: leaping from 12th to 7th place this month. Skyscanner’s Russian Country Manager, Dmitry Konovalov states: “Russia’s new generation brings with it a sense of intrigue, connection and appreciation for the USA; and it is much easier for Russians to obtain a US -versus UK- visa. These facts serve as strong drivers when choosing where to take a vacation. A few tips to ease the cultural shock: try catering to Russians’ preference of fruit juices over soft drinks, and always hand bills to a man, remember to firmly shake the hand of your Russian visitors, and if they sound loud, that’s a sure sign conversation is merry and animated!”


Considering ports, affordable flights to New Jersey and flights from Los Angeles, respectively attract both Canadian and Mexican travelers to the US. Despite tensions along the US and Mexican border, flight searches before -and after- the news of Arizona’s immigration laws hit the wires have remained constant; a clear indicator that travel between the two countries may not have been hit as hard as some might have predicted.


In a completely opposite trend, inbound travel from China fell dramatically, going from 8th on the list to 22nd. This decrease in popularity might be due to increased internal tourism in the Asian giant or to a growth in travel from the Eastern nation to other regions in the world, boosted by the ever-increasing airfare deals to Europe.


Scot Carlson, Country Manager for the US and Canada, commented:
“We are seeing more and more interest in the US from countries like Russia, Portugal, and Australia, so Destination Marketers may want to explore the best way to position their locations, or even consider some local advertising, in order to attract the interest of these three, upcoming -and very different- market segments.”

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