Safwaan Brown is an intern in the Office of Public Affairs.
New York, Florida, and California topped the wish list for overseas visitors to the United States in 2014 – each setting records for international visitation last year. In fact, New York was the most visited state by overseas travelers for a 14th consecutive year. Florida and California registered 18 and 11 percent increases in visitors from 2013, according to the 2014 Survey of International Air Travelers (SIAT) released by the International Trade Administration’s National Travel and Tourism Office on June 1. SIAT estimates are currently available for 23 states.
Hawaii, Nevada, Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, Guam, New Jersey and Pennsylvania (tied) complete the top 10 states visited in 2014. Ten states experienced double-digit increases in visitors, with Georgia and Washington posting the highest growth rates at 22 and 21 percent, respectively. In addition to New York, Florida, and California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Washington, Utah, and Virginia set records for overseas visitation from 1997-2014.
Not surprisingly, the top five most-visited cities by overseas travelers were found to be New York (New York City), Florida (Miami, Orlando), and California (Los Angeles and San Francisco). Las Vegas, Honolulu, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Chicago round out the top 10 most popular cities among overseas visitors. Fifteen cities posted increases in visitation in 2014, with 11 of the 23 surveyed destinations achieving double-digit growth. San Diego (25 percent) and Atlanta (24 percent) registered the largest visitation increases.
In rank order, New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Boston, San Diego, Houston, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.), Atlanta, Seattle, and the Florida Keys all set overseas visitation records between 1997 – 2014.
Upticks in leisure travel and visiting friends and relatives accounted for the overall increase in visitors, according to the survey. Overall, the average length of stay and total travel party size increased in 2014, as did the number of overseas travelers coming to the United States on business. The survey also noted an increase in travel by automobile and cruises.
The SIAT, launched in 1983, estimates overseas visitor volumes to destinations (states and cities) and provides traveler characteristics of those visitors from overseas and Mexico (air) to the United States and its destinations.