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76 U.S. Tourism & Travel Statistics and Facts

76 U.S. Tourism & Travel Statistics and Facts

The United States has a massive impact on both inbound and outbound tourism. International and domestic travelers in the US contribute to a significant boost in the economy, which makes it an essential part of it.

US tourism travel offers attractions to all types of travelers, and it also invests in outbound destinations.

This fundamental importance it has on the internal and external economy shows its power, which can be observed in the facts and figures associated with it.

US Tourism Travel Stats Highlights

With US tourism travel being such a significant part of the economy, it is no surprise that there is plenty of data to analyze regarding this topic. Let’s take a look at some of the most intriguing highlights related to US tourism travel:

  • Those choosing air travel for their US tourism are steadily increasing in volume despite rising prices. It is currently only 5% below pre-pandemic levels.
  • 8 in 10 business travelers expect to travel for work in the next 6 months.
  • Around 51% of Americans plan to prioritize leisure travel in Q1 of 2023. This shows a decrease for the first time in 10 months.
  • The US is ranked 1st worldwide for tourism travel spending: over $80 billion.

Outbound US Tourism Travel Stats

Outbound US tourism travel is slowly recovering after the peak of the pandemic. While this aspect of US tourism travel has less impressive figures than inbound tourism, it is also an essential part of the industry.

Let’s see what the data says about outbound US tourism travel.

The Number of Outbound Tourists Is Increasing

(Source: Statista)

US tourism, in general, was one of the most hard-hit sectors during the pandemic. In 2019, 99.74 million US residents traveled outside the country.

During 2020, this number fell sharply to 33.5 million. Still, by the end of 2021, outbound tourism showed some recovery, with 49.1 million people traveling outside the borders once more. Before the pandemic hit, the number of outbound tourists had stayed below 55 million since 2002.

Europe Is a Preferred Outbound Destination

(Source: NTTO)

By the end of 2022, almost 14 million people traveled to Europe. This was by far the preferred destination for outbound US tourism travel outside the Americas. This showed a significant increase from 2021, when just over 4 million people traveled to Europe due to the pandemic restrictions.

In 2019, 16 million US residents traveled to Europe. The current figure shows that this part of the sector is recovering and that Europe continues to be the 1st pick.

Many US Travelers Go to Mexico

(Source: NTTO)

Unsurprisingly, Mexico’s proximity to the southern United States makes it a perennial favorite destination for outbound tourism. In 2022, over 10 millionUS residents traveled to Mexico via air travel, while over 16 million traveled to Mexico through other means.

In 2019, approximately 8 million US residents traveled to Mexico by plane, while over 23 million traveled through different methods of transport. Mexico’s popularity with US tourists can be appreciated in these figures. It is far ahead of other destinations in the Americas.

The Caribbean Is a Popular Holiday Destination

(Source: NTTO)

The Caribbean provides an enticing area of the world for US residents to travel for a holiday. In 2022, 7.5 million people traveled to the Caribbean from the US. This shows only a slight decrease compared to 2019’s 7.9 million people.

In 2021, approximately 5 million US residents traveled to the Caribbean. This shows the consistency of this travel destination, even through the pandemic years.

The Most Outbound Travel Happened in July

(Source: NTTO)

July is a holiday month for many, so it comes as no surprise that in 2022 it was the month that saw the most outbound tourism. That month, circa 9 million US residents traveled outside the country.

This shows an increase from 2021 when it was also the month with the most outbound travel but with 5 million people instead. 2019 figures show that July was only slightly ahead of June, with 10.7 million people and 10.4 million people, respectively.

July Was the Month With the Most Trips to the Caribbean

(Source: NTTO)

We’ve seen that the Caribbean is one of the most popular destinations for outbound tourism. In July 2022, over 1 million people traveled to the Caribbean from the US.

This was by far the month with the most Caribbean trips, which is easily explained due to the summer holidays. It was the first time since March 2019 that the 1 million mark was crossed.

Almost 2 Million Outbound Tourists Traveled to Asia

(Source: NTTO)

2022 also saw recovery when it came to US citizens traveling to Asia. After reaching a peak in 2019, with 5 million US citizens traveling to Asia, the pandemic prevented many travel opportunities there during 2020 and 2021.

By the end of 2022, however, almost 2 million people had traveled to Asia from the US, with 1.87 million making the trip to the continent.

Central America Showed Growth

(Source: NTTO)

In 2022, over 3 million US residents traveled to the Central America region. This encompasses countries like Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Belize, which are very attractive to outbound US tourists. It also showed an increase in outbound trips from 2019, when 2.8 million US citizens traveled to Central America.

Africa Was the Least Chosen Continent

(Source: NTTO)

While outbound travel during 2022 flourished with recovery, one continent remained the least chosen option for travel outside the US.

Only 509,670 US citizens traveled to Africa in 2022. Despite the relatively low figure, it did show an increase from 2019, when 456,622 US residents traveled to Africa, and from 2021, when circa 310,000 traveled there.

This can be due to restrictions, safety concerns, and more complicated access to African countries for US residents.

South America Destinations Showed Growth

(Source: NTTO)

South America was one of the few destinations for outbound tourism that showed growth in relation to 2019.

In 2022, 1.9 million US citizens traveled to South American countries like Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Chile. 2019 saw 1.8 million people traveling to that region, and 2021 saw a decrease to 977,291 people due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19.

Inbound US Tourism Travel Stats

Inbound US tourism is instrumental to the country’s tourism sector and economy. The pandemic dealt a blow to inbound tourism too, but the industry is already showing signs of recovery after that ordeal. Here are some exciting inbound US tourism travel stats.

2022 Saw More Inbound Visitors

(Source: Statista)

2018 saw the highest number of international inbound travelers to the US of the decade: 79.75 million people came to the US from overseas or the rest of the Americas.

In 2019, there was only the tiniest of decreases to 79.44 million people entering the US from abroad. 2020 saw the lowest figure in recent records, with only 19.21 million people able to enter the US due to the pandemic. By 2021, that figure started to climb again, reaching 22.1 million. 2022 saw the most recovery, with 5.2 million visitors in July alone.

Canadians Travel Most to the US

(Source: US Travel)

In 2019, approximately 20.7 million Canadian residents traveled to the United States. Mexican citizens followed in second place, with 18.14 million people traveling to the US.

This can be easily explained by noting that both these leading countries are neighbors of the US, but it still shows the consistency of inbound travel from these locations.

The United Kingdom Was the Leading Overseas Inbound Tourism Generator

(Source: US Travel)

By the end of 2019, approximately 4.8 million UK citizens traveled to the US. The UK tends to provide the most significant number of inbound travelers to the US when not considering the Americas. Japan followed, with 3.8 million people traveling to the US, while 2.8 million Chinese residents also crossed the US border that year.

Over 40 Million Overseas Travelers Visited the US

(Source: US Travel)

Every year, pre- and post-pandemic, international travelers flock to the United States, from Chinese residents to Swedish ones. Outside of citizens from the Americas, over 40 million international travelers visited the US in total in 2019. This shows the attraction the US has for visitors from overseas.

Over 5 Million Business Travelers Went to the US in 2019

(Source: Statista)

Business travelers tend to have to go abroad frequently, and many of them do so in the US. In 2019, 5.4 million business travelers arrived in the United States from overseas. This shows that the country is a draw for leisure and work travel, including conferences, conventions, and other business-related ventures.

Projections Expect Growth Regarding Inbound Travel

(Source: US Chamber of Commerce)

By 2027, projections expect a new record will be set for inbound travel to the US. Current estimates suggest that 90 million international travelers will be expected to travel to the US annually by then. While this remains to be confirmed, the post-pandemic recovery shows excellent cause for optimism in that regard.

New York City Is a Leading Destination for Inbound Travelers

(Source: Statista)

While travelers to the US tend to show a preference for various cities and attractions, one, in particular, is usually at the top of the list: New York City.

This iconic destination saw 5.42 million international arrivals in 2020. Even in such a fraught year, New York City continued to appeal to inbound tourism. Miami came second, with 3.43 million international arrivals, and Los Angeles welcomed 3.38 million.

Overseas Travelers Tend To Spend a Few Weeks in the US

(Source: US Travel)

Inbound travelers arriving from overseas tend to take their time while visiting the US. On average, they spend around 17 nights in the country. This allows them to get a good feel for the country, especially if they want to visit more than one city during their stay.

Visitors From Overseas Spend Significant Amounts

(Source: US Travel)

The data shows why inbound visitors are so crucial to US tourism travel. On average, inbound travelers from overseas locations spend circa $3,700 during a trip to the United States.

This amount usually goes on accommodation and other tourism-related activities. Each investment made by international travelers to the US counts toward the industry’s recovery.

Williamsburg Is the Cheapest City To Travel To

(Source: Statista)

While many international travelers are quick to spend more money to stay in sought-after cities, budget-friendly options are available. For instance, by the end of 2021, Williamsburg was the cheapest city to travel to.

A stay in this charming city with profound colonial history costs approximately $89 daily. Rapid City in South Dakota follows, with $92 a day, while Dallas is 3rd with $102.

US Tourism Travel Trends Stats

Travel trends can have a significant impact on the sector. Observing these trends and reacting accordingly to them can lead to further industry recovery and even flourishing figures. Let’s see what’s in store for US tourism travel soon.

Gen-z Travelers Are Seeking Eco-friendly Accommodation

(Source: Statista)

With increasing frequency, domestic and international tourists seek more sustainable accommodation. Many would even be willing to pay more for an eco-friendly location. Gen-Z travelers, in particular, lead the way, with 30% of them stating they would rather pay more for an environmentally-conscious accommodation option.

Millennials are close behind, with 29% of this generation opting to pay more for eco-friendly locations. Only 20% of baby boomers would choose to pay more.

The Ecotourism Market Size Is Increasing

(Source: Statista)

In the United States, the ecotourism sector had a market size of $23.2 billion in 2020. By the end of 2021, it had grown to $25.6 billion. This growth is expected to continue at a stable rate, which shows that the demand for green tourism impacts the industry.

Airbnb Users Are Increasing

(Source: Statista)

Airbnb has consistently been gaining popularity, primarily due to the pandemic. In 2019, there were 41.1 million Airbnb users in the United States. By the end of 2020, there were 43.3 million, with 44.5 million in 2021.

2022 saw another increase, with 45.6 million people opting for Airbnb instead of a traditional hotel. This changes how tourists interact with accommodation, impacting the locations they choose to visit and how long to stay.

Airbnb Gained Most Revenue From North America

(Source: Statista)

The growing influence of Airbnb can be seen in the numbers. North America consistently generates the most revenue for Airbnb, with $3.2 billion in 2021.

This grew from $1.8 billion in revenue in 2021 to $2 billion achieved in 2019. The stability in income and the constant growth indicate that Airbnb is here to stay and will continue to attract US tourism travel.

Experience Bookings Are Growing

(Source: Statista)

Millennials and Gen-Z are increasingly interested in spending money on experiences rather than fancy accommodation. US tourism travel is impacted by this trend, as it is driven by a wish for more authentic stays in different locations.

This shows that more money will be spent on experiences which can directly impact the local economy. 48% of experience bookings are done when arriving at a location, which should be taken into account by local accommodation and experience providers.

Most Americans Will Travel Within the US

(Source: Rakuten)

75% of US citizens are planning to stay within the country’s borders when traveling during the first half of 2023.

While most seem keen on taking US trips, 38% are planning to go to Europe in the first 6 months of the year. 21% are planning to go to Canada, while 18% are planning to go to Mexico. Of the rest, 15% plan to visit the United Kingdom, and 13% aim to travel to Asia or South America.

Spending Rates Are Increasing

(Source: Rakuten)

7 in 10 travelers are open to spending up to $10,000 during their next international adventure. Whether inbound or outbound, this willingness to spend coming from tourists can have a remarkable effect on the economy.

As prices around the world are increasing, so are travel costs. Despite this, most travelers understand the importance of a trip and are willing to spend more on one.

Tourists Prefer Booking Direct

(Source: Rakuten)

There are numerous booking platforms available for use when planning a trip. Despite this. 49% of tourists prefer booking their accommodation on the hotel website. 39% prefer using another platform, depending on the available offers.

Staycations Are In

(Source: Statista)

During the peak times of the pandemic, it became apparent that sometimes the best solution was staying home.

63% of adults residing in the United States have taken a staycation, usually remaining either at home or within the state. 37% have never taken a staycation, but their importance was highlighted during the pandemic.

Mindful Activities Have Appeal

(Source: Statista)

US tourism travel is adapting to the growing demand for self-care and mindful activities during holidays. 33% of those traveling to the United States are looking to book a beauty and spa session. 15% of them have stated that they would rather stay at a meditation retreat.

US Tourism Travel Hotel Stats

Hotels are an essential aspect of US tourism travel. They remain the main accommodation option, even as competitors inch closer. Here’s an overview of the hotel industry in the United States and how it affects US tourism travel.

The Motel and Hotel Market Size Is Growing

(Source: Statista)

In the United States, the motel and hotel market size is growing. By the end of 2022, the sector reached a market size of $258 billion.

This is the highest market size of the decade. In 2019, the market size reached $222 billion, which dropped to $127 billion in 2020. By 2021, the market size had started recovering, with $171 billion. The 2022 figure shows that the industry is recovering well.

Hotel Jobs Are Increasing

(Source: Statista)

After achieving a peak of 2.36 million jobs in the industry in 2019, the demand dropped to 1.65 million in 2020. 2021 showed recovery, with 1.82 million jobs available.

2022 brought back pre-pandemic figures, with 2.19 million jobs in the hotel and motel sector. This was only slightly off the figures registered in 2019 and 2018.

The Average Daily Rate for Hotels Is Pricier

(Source: Statista)

While the average daily rate tourists pay for hotels is increasing due to inflation, it still has yet to go much above pre-pandemic levels.

The daily rate has stayed under $100 in the past decade, which shows that it remains consistent despite the economy’s ebb and flow. In 2019, travelers spent an average of $131.12 a day for a hotel stay. As expected, in 2020, the average daily rate fell to $103.25 but grew to $125 by the end of 2021.

The Occupancy Rate Is Recovering

(Source: Statista)

After dropping to 44% in 2020, the hotel and motel occupancy rate in the United States increased to 57.6% by the end of 2021.

This figure still needed to register the pre-pandemic occupancy rates achieved in 2019, with 66.1%. However, it shows the recovery experienced across the sector. The highest occupancy rate achieved in the last decade occurred in 2018, with 66.2%.

Revenue per Available Room Is Showing Growth

(Source: Statista)

The revenue per available room, or RevPAR, dropped to $45.48 in 2020. In 2019, the highest RevPAR of the decade was achieved, with $86.76. This made the decrease in 2020 seem even more jarring, but the RevPAR was recovering by the end of 2021 when it reached $72. This figure was more in line with what was expected in revenue and is estimated to continue to grow.

Miami Had the Costliest Room Averages

(Source: Statista)

In January 2022, Miami had the most expensive hotel room average cost in the United States, with travelers paying $304 per night. This showed an increase from the same month in 2021 when the overnight accommodation costs averaged $221 in Miami.

This city was well ahead of New York, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. In New York, the room average per night was $235 in January 2022, while in Las Vegas, it was $222, and in San Francisco $211.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Leads in Property Numbers

(Source: Statista)

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts owns over 8,904 properties. This makes it the overall leader in worldwide and US properties, ahead of Marriott International with 7,662 and Choice Hotels International with 7,111.

The Hilton Group follows, with 6,619, along with IGH Hotels & Resorts at 5,959. Wyndham Hotels includes hotel brands such as Tryp, Esplendor, Dazzler, LaQuinta, and Wingate.

Marriott Has the Most Guestrooms

(Source: Statista)

Across the Americas, Marriott International has the most significant number of guestrooms, with over 985,756 options. Marriott is followed by Hilton Worldwide, with 757,431 guestrooms across the Americas, and by Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, with 580,100, and InterContinental Hotels Group, with 523,650.

American Hotels Generate the Most Revenue Worldwide

(Source: Statista)

By the end of 2023, hotels in the United States are projected to have the most revenue on a global scale. Estimations place the revenue in 2023 at $106 billion, which makes US hotels stand out. It also shows that accommodation in the United States remains a consistent top earner, well ahead of other countries in the international market.

US Tourism Travel Market and Spending Stats

The US tourism travel market offers plenty of exciting figures to study, and the industry’s spending reflects the sector’s importance. Let’s take a look at some of the best data in this category.

Total Travel Spending Is Expected To Grow

(Source: Statista)

After less investment in 2020 and 2021, 2022 showed a return to form for travel spending. By the end of the year, $1.05 trillion was spent on travel. Back in 2019, the figure reached $1.17 trillion. This trend is expected to continue.

Projections show that by 2024 travel spending will reach $1.21 trillion, and by 2026 it will reach $1.26 trillion. This shows the general upward trend of the sector and how it will continue contributing to the overall tourism industry.

The Most Direct Travel Spending Went To Domestic Leisure Travel

(Source: Statista)

Most of the direct travel spending went to domestic leisure travel, with $751 billion, followed by domestic business travel, with $118 billion.

In 2021, only $40 billion went to international inbound travel. This shows how vital domestic travel is to the sector. The spending on it highlights how much US citizens tend to opt for staying within the borders, especially during these years.

International Travel Spending Is Projected To Increase

(Source: Statista)

While domestic leisure spending continues to lead the way, global travel spending is set to increase at a quick pace throughout this decade. International travel spending took a considerable dip in 2020 and 2021, with $41 billion and $40 billion, respectively, but this figure is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2025.

In 2023, the projection estimates international travel spending of $141 billion. This will be followed by $167 billion in 2024, $186 billion in 2025, and $198 billion in 2026. In comparison, the international travel spending was $181 billion in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

Hotels Get the Highest Share of Gross Bookings

(Source: Statista)

By the end of 2021, hotels got the highest share of gross bookings per segment. They had over 51%, far ahead of airlines at 37%, car rentals at 6%, tour operators at 3%, and cruises at 1%. This reflects the change in bookings due to the pandemic, but hotels remained mostly unaffected regarding bookings share.

Accommodation is an essential part of bookings, which these figures clearly show. Cruises had a tough time during the pandemic, but they are expected to grow past the 1% in gross bookings share from 2021.

The Growth Rate of the Tourism Industry Is Projected at 4.3%

(Source: IBISWorld)

After the market size of the tourism industry suffered a decrease of 1.6% between 2018 and 2023, an increase is expected by 2024.

Projections show that the market size will increase by 4.3%, which is a welcome sign of things changing for the better after the full pandemic years. This expected growth is necessary for the industry and demonstrates that US tourism travel is a massive part of getting it back on track.

Leisure Trips Are Projected To Increase

(Source: Statista)

In 2022, 1.88 billion leisure trips were taken in the United States. By the end of 2023, the number of leisure trips is expected to grow to 1.94 billion. In 2024, the 2 billion mark will be passed, and by the end of 2026, it is projected to grow to 2.06 billion.

This shows that not only are leisure trips a substantial part of the sector, but they will also continue to have a significant impact in the coming years.

Business Trips Will Remain Stable

(Source: Statista)

By the end of 2026, business trips are projected to reach 0.48 billion. This will continue the trend set in 2024 and 2025, with 0.47 billion and 0.48 billion, respectively. In 2022, business trips across the United States reached 0.37 billion.

This shows that there will be stability along with a steady increase in this part of the sector. Domestic leisure trips and international tourism take precedence, but business trips continue to bring consistent travelers and revenue.

December 2021 Showed a Huge Spending Increase From 2020

(Source: NTTO)

In December 2021, international tourists spent $5.2 billion across the United States on tourism-related purchases. This was a whopping 359% increase over the same month in 2020 when travel was starting to improve following the first waves of the pandemic.

The pre-pandemic US tourism travel spending in December 2019 was 12 billion. This shows that by 2021, the expenditure was recovering at an accelerated pace. These travel-related purchases included lodging, gifts, entertainment, and local transportation.

Travel Is One of the Top Us Exports

(Source: International Trade Administration)

Outside of the pandemic years, US tourism travel is one of the main exports in the country. In 2019, it was 3rd on the list of top 10 exports, totaling $239 billion. Travel was ahead of consumer goods and behind capital goods in 1st place, and industrial supplies and materials in 2nd.

Travel exports fell dramatically in 2020, totaling $84 billion and dropping to 9th in the top exports ranking. This was a jolt after the 102% growth travel exports experienced between 2000 and 2019 and the 75% growth between 2009 and 2019.

China Was the Top Us Travel Export Market

(Souce: International Trade Administration)

China was the top US travel export market in 2019 and 2020. In 2020, the travel exports in this market totaled $16.2 billion. That same year, Mexico came 2nd, with $10 billion, and India came 3rd with $7.9 billion.

The share of US travel exports in China was 19.2%, in Mexico 11.8%, and in India 7.9%. The top 5 US travel export markets tend to remain the same, with some variation of positions between them. In 2020, Mexico climbed from 3rd to 2nd, and India from 5th to 3rd.

US Tourism Travel Economy Stats

US tourism travel has a significant impact on the overall economy of the country. This makes it fascinating to explore the economy-related data for the sector. There is much to discover when looking at the details behind this relationship. Let’s delve into what the numbers have to offer us.

Travel and Tourism Was the Largest Services Export in 2019

(Source: US Commerce)

The US tourism travel sector at large produced $53.5 billion in trade surplus. It was the most significant services export that year, which highlights the impact it has on the industry and on the economy.

This trade surplus had several benefits for the economy that helped it that year. Despite the decrease in 2020, the travel and tourism sector is recovering and supporting the country’s economy in significant ways.

The US Trade Deficit Would Be Worse Without Us Tourism Travel

(Source: US Travel)

The US trade deficit currently stands at approximately $576 billion. This is an impressive figure, but it would be much higher without the success of the US tourism travel sector.

The trade deficit would be at $630 billion without the travel and tourism industry‘s contribution to the economy. This highlights how essential the US tourism travel sector has become to the economy and how much it fuels it, especially during this recovery period after the peak years of COVID-19.

The Tourism Travel Sector Supports Many Jobs in the US

(Source: US Commerce)

The US tourism travel sector supports

1 in 20 jobs across the United States. These jobs can be spread across various other industries, including food service, transportation, entertainment, and arts.

The US tourism travel sector has a broad reach and supports much more than it may initially seem. Keeping this in mind helps analyze the sector’s data, considering how much it can stretch across various industries.

Tourism-related Business Have an Average of 10 Employees

(Source: IBIS World)

Across the United States, businesses focused on US tourism travel have an average employee count of 10.4. This shows that most of these businesses provide significant job openings, which in turn explains the effect this sector has on the economy.

It doesn’t only provide revenue, but it also opens up workspaces for people across services. The importance of this cannot be overstated, especially during the aftermath of the pandemic years.

9.5 Million Jobs Were Supported by the Sector in 2019

(Source: International Trade Administration)

Before the pandemic, 2019 marked a significant year for the US tourism travel sector. 9.5 million employees were supported by the industry, which showed the extent of its success. These 9.5 million jobs also contributed to 2.9% of the US GDP.

International Travelers Invest When Visiting the US

(Source: International Trade Administration)

The US received 14.5% of the global international travel spending, the largest share for one country. Before the pandemic, $640 million a day were contributed to the US economy by international visitors spending money during their stays. This added to the $1.9 trillion in economic output caused by the US travel tourism industry that year.

The International Trade Administration acknowledged the importance of this contribution by actively supporting the industry during its recovery. This industry is crucial to the economic recovery of the country and continues to draw international as well as domestic spending.

Tourism and Travel Contribute to the Global GDP

(Source: WTTC)

The tourism and travel sector contributed 10.3% to the global GDP in 2019. This share fell to 5.3% in 2020 but quickly showed signs of recovery in 2021, with a 6.1% share. The sector fuels the global GDP in significant ways, and its continued recovery is helping out on a universal level. This contribution to the worldwide GDP highlights even further how much US tourism travel sustains the economy.

Jobs Were Recovered in 2021

(Source: WTTC)

62 million jobs were lost during the pandemic, which caused a decrease of 18.7% in comparison to 2019, when 333 million were employed in the US tourism travel sector.

By the end of 2021, 18.7 million of those jobs were recovered, which boosted the positive trend for the industry. This 6.7% increase in jobs in 2021 showed that the tourism and travel industry was ready to return in full force after the losses experienced in 2020.

Domestic and International Visitor Spending Increased in 2021

(Source: WTTC)

Domestic visitor spending decreased during 2020 by 47.4% in relation to 2020. Despite this setback, 2021 saw an increase of 31.4% in domestic visitor spending. This showed the quick recovery of the sector and highlighted the importance of domestic spending within it.

International visitor spending also decreased by 69.7% in 2020 but increased by 3.8% in 2021. The upward trend for spending showed that the positive contribution to the economy could resume even in the immediate wake of 2020, despite being reduced.

The Total Contribution to the GDP Is Increasing

(Source: Statista)

In 2019, the total contribution of travel and tourism to the GDP was $1.98 trillion. By the end of 2020, that figure decreased to $1.04 trillion. Throughout 2021, the total contribution experienced recovery and ended up being $1.27 billion, which was much closer to pre-pandemic figures and hinted at an accelerated upward trend in the coming years.

Sports Impact on US Tourism Travel Stats

It may not be the first thing you think of, but sports enable a lot of US tourism travel, especially on a domestic level.

Sport tourism contributes significantly to the local and national economy, influencing a lot of movement across the country in various directions. It also has an impact on attracting international visitors. Let’s see how sports shape US tourism travel.

The Sport Travel Sector Recovered in 2021

(Source: Tourism Economics)

There were 179 million sports travelers across the United States in 2019, the highest growth in recent years. This figure decreased significantly in 2020 due to the pandemic, with only 96 million. The decrease was 46.5% in comparison to 2019. Despite this, by the end of 2021, the sector bounced back with 175 million travelers. This was only slightly shy of the high threshold set in 2019.

Almost 40 Billion Were Spent on Sports-related Travel in 2021

(Source: Tourism Economics)

By the end of 2021, sports-related travel spending amounted to $39.7 billion. The larger share of this, $9.7 billion, went into transport. This included airfare, car rentals, public transportation, rideshares, and parking while on a sports travel trip.

Lodging totaled $8.4 billion, all spent on hotels, motels, RVs, or private home rentals. $7.5 billion went on food and beverages from restaurants to groceries, while $5.3 billion went on recreation. This included trips to the theater, the cinema, or amusement parks. $5 billion went into retail, including gift shops, malls, and souvenirs or merchandise.

Overnight Stays Helped With Recovery

(Source: Tourism Economics)

54% of sports travelers in 2021 opted to stay the night in their chosen event destination. 94.7 million of 175 million travelers had an overnight stay. Those staying overnight spent an average of $317 on the trip, while those only staying for the day spent around $75, for an average of $206.

The total traveler spending for those opting for overnight stays amounted to $30,014 for the nighttime and $6,019 for the daytime activities. This averaged at $36,032, which was far higher than 2020’s $18,992 but below 2019’s $41,174.

Sports Tourism Supported a Large Share of Business Sales

(Source: Tourism Economics)

In 2021, sports travel contributed to $91.8 billion of the total output of business sales. The direct spending of $39.7 billion caused $22 billion indirect expenditures and $30.1 billion in direct expenditures. This shows how the various aspects of US travel tourism can have healthy partnerships with other industries that have highly beneficial effects on either side.

$12.9 billion of business sales was generated indirectly through tourism businesses buying from finance, insurance, and real estate businesses.

Sports Us Tourism Supported Many Jobs in 2021

(Source: Tourism Economics)

When considering direct, indirect, and induced jobs, sports tourism across the United States supported 635,061 jobs in 2021. 357,017 of those were direct jobs, while 109,414 were indirect, and 168,629 were induced.

The primary industry impacted by sports-related travel was the food and beverage industry, with 135,062 jobs in total. The recreation and entertainment sector was next, with 108,539 jobs, followed by business services with 81,206, and lodging with 79,329. This shows the impact of sports travel across various services and industries.

Sports Travel Generated Billions in Total Personal Income

(Source: Tourism Economics)

By the end of 2021, sports travel generated $29.7 billion in total personal income. This came from the sum of direct personal income, indirect personal income, and induced personal income. Direct personal income amounted to $13.2 billion, while indirect personal income covered $7 billion, and induced personal income totaled $9.5 billion.

This also impacted most industries, especially business services, food and beverage services, and lodging. The labor income impacts were also felt in recreation and entertainment, finance, insurance, and real estate, and education/healthcare.

Sports Travel Had an Impact on Fiscal Tax

(Source: Tourism Economy)

The total fiscal tax impact of the sports travel sector generated $12.9 billion. State governments got $2.9 billion, while local governments got a share of $3.3 billion. The total tax revenues came from federal sources like personal income ($2.5 billion) and social insurance ($3.3 billion).

They also came from local and state sources, such as sales ($2.2 billion) and property ($1.9 billion). The total fiscal tax impact came from direct sales, as well as from indirect or induced sales.

International Travelers Have an Interest in Sports Travel

(Source: US Travel)

International travelers visiting the United States in 2019 claimed to be interested in sports experiences during their stay. 37% of the international traveler respondents said they wanted to go to a sporting event while in the US. Sports events in the NBA, NFL, or MLB were the most cited. This showed a significant increase from the previous year.

In 2018, only 24% of international travelers showed interest in partaking in sport tourism during their time in the United States. The growing influence of sports on even international travel could already be clearly seen.

The Sports Travel Sector Supported More Jobs Than Larger Industries

(Source: Tourism Economics)

Sports tourism supported 357,017 direct jobs in 2021. In comparison, the pharmaceuticals and medicines sector supported 332,000, the highway/street/bridge construction sector supported 341,000, and credit unions supported 293,000.

This shows that sports travel is a very influential sector that impacts the economy and workplaces across the United States. Ahead of sports tourism, the largest share of direct jobs was in the motor vehicles and parts manufacturing sector. It supported over 958,000 direct jobs, with the public accounting sector following with 504,000 direct jobs.

The furniture and home furnishings retail sector accounted for 442,000, while wood product manufacturing accounted for 410,000. Barber shops and beauty salons contributed to 385,000 direct jobs.

The North American Sports Market Had a Large Share in 2018

(Source: US Travel)

In 2018, the accumulated market share of all North American sports travel (covering the United States, Canada, and Mexico) amounted to over $71.1 billion. This shows how significant this market is, especially in this region of the world. It is expected to grow by 3.2% every year. By the end of 2023, projections expect an $83.1 billion market share for North American sports tourism.

South Koreans and Mexicans Show the Most Interest in Sport Travel

(Source: US Travel)

While a significant share of international travelers has expressed interest in experiencing sports events during their stay, some take the lead. Over 50% of South Korean international travelers to the US wish to attend a professional sports event.

The same is true of Mexicans, with over 52% interest in attending a sport event while traveling through the US. South Koreans prefer MLB events, while Mexicans prefer NFL events. Travelers from China, India, Japan, and Brazil are also among those most interested in experiencing sports tourism in the US.

COVID-19 Impact on US Tourism Travel Stats

COVID-19 had a massive impact on US tourism travel. This can be seen in the statistics generated during the 2020/2021 period. While the sector is showing a strong recovery and a steady upward trend, the impact of the pandemic on the entire industry cannot be understated.

The effect of COVID-19 on US tourism travel can still be felt and will continue to be felt for a while. It’s changed how people approach travel. Let’s take a look at how COVID-19 changed the industry.

April and May 2020 Experienced the Most Significant Decrease

(Source: Statista)

Due to the lockdown rules experienced around the world following March 2020, one of the most impactful figures related to US tourism travel came in April and May of that same year. The monthly number of international travelers arriving in the US experienced a decrease of 96% percent in that time period.

It stayed over -90% throughout that summer, with October being the first month at -89% compared to 2019. It took until November 2021 for this figure to reach -53%, and by June 2022, it was at -36%. This shows the considerable impact experienced as a consequence of having to close borders.

COVID-19 Had a Marked Impact on Hotel KPIs

(Source: Statista)

In 2019, hotels had an average occupancy rate of 66.1%, an average daily rate of $131.11, and a revenue per available room of $86.63. By the end of 2020, the figures show how COVID-19 changed hotel KPIs.

The occupancy rate fell to 41.6%, the average daily rate fell to $103.04, and the revenue per available room was $42.83. Despite this, improvement already showed by the end of 2021. Occupancy went up to 55.6%, the average daily rate reached $108.41, and the revenue per available room increased to $60.24.

Most Americans Are Not Concerned About Traveling Now

(Source: Statista)

By March 2022, studies wanted to gather information on how US citizens felt about the prospect of traveling in the direct aftermath of the peak of COVID-19. 33% of respondents stated they were not at all concerned, while 31% expressed slight concern over traveling.

21% shared that they were moderately concerned about travel planning after the worst of the pandemic, while 16% said they were highly concerned about it. This shows that while there is still some concern, potential travelers are not letting it stop them from going on trips.

The Excitement for Hotel Stays Was at a High

(Source: Statista)

By March 2021, many people were dreaming of what they’d do once travel restrictions eased and once there would be more control over COVID-19 contagion rates.

24% of respondents in the United States expressed that they were very excited to stay at a hotel once that became possible again. 23% said they were somewhat excited at the prospect, while 12% said they were not very excited or not at all excited to stay at hotels again.

Travel Exports Experienced a Significant Decrease

(Source: US Commerce)

In comparison with 2019, there was a 65% decrease in travel exports during 2020. This remarkable drop can be easily explained by the impact of the pandemic on traveling in general and on travel exports in particular.

While 2020 was a rough year for travel exports, 2021 brought growth and the beginning of an optimistic trend that looks set to dominate the next few years. The total return of international travel is creating plenty of opportunities.


Where Do Us Tourism Travelers Intend To Go in the Next 12 Months?

In the United States, most people are planning to travel to a large city in the next 12 months. 57% of respondents would prefer to go to a large urban area, while 54% would instead discover the wonders of a small town.

40% intend to visit a natural park to enjoy the sights, while 34% want to go to a resort. 31% are planning a trip to a theme park, and 17% are looking to indulge in booking a cruise. This shows that travelers have varied tastes, but most importantly, it highlights that travel is fully back on the menu.

What Is the Level of Trust in Travel Brands?

Most US tourism travelers have established trust in chain hotels. 73% of respondents trust chain hotels over other types of accommodation. 69% trust in loyalty programs on offer, and 66% trust airlines and airports.

Theme parks have a 65% trust rate, and rental car companies have 64%. The level of trust is essential in establishing safe and consistent travel patterns that will help with post-pandemic recovery. It is clear that most travelers continue to have faith in the traditional accommodation provided by chain hotels.

What Are the Trendiest Travel Activities in the US?

Cultural activities tend to be a priority for both inbound and outbound travelers. 65% of respondents wish to visit history museums and art galleries, while 59% prefer aquariums and 56% prefer science museums.

Theme parks and zoos get 55% interest. Inbound travelers love shopping opportunities, with 54% opting for those. 49% wish to visit historical sites or areas of cultural importance, and 48% want to experience what the restaurants have to offer. 46% of international travelers wish to go on sightseeing tours and to national parks.

What Is the Most Affordable Us City for Backpackers?

International and domestic travel has shifted somewhat due to the pandemic. Travelers are exploring different options for discovering locations. Many travelers from overseas, especially, are looking to immerse themselves in American culture by chasing authentic experiences.

Backpacking is on the mind of many, but not all US cities are very affordable. New Orleans is one of the most backpacking-friendly, with an average daily price of $94.7. It is followed by Miami Beach at $97.9 and Washington Beach at $106.6. Those wishing to explore the US via backpacking should know the rates before departing.

Why Do Americans Travel?

Most Americans travel for leisure. 51% are looking to rest and relax while they travel, and 49% are looking to escape the routine.

44% travel to visit family or friends and relax with them. This shows that US citizens are looking to unwind, both with domestic travel opportunities and international ones.

Final Thoughts

US tourism travel was significantly impacted by COVID-19, but it is one of the sectors that shows the most recovery and improvement.

The lifting of restrictions around the world has allowed inbound and outbound US travel to resume with far fewer obstacles. The future is looking bright for the industry, which in turn will have a positive effect on the national and international economy.

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