Tourism in the United States of America

Tourism in the United States of America

the United States of America recorded a total of 45 million tourists in 2020, ranking 4th in the world in absolute terms.

The fact that larger countries regularly perform better in a comparison of the absolute number of guests is obvious. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of the United States, the result is much more comparable picture: With 0.14 tourists per resident, the United States ranked 106th in the world. In North America, it ranked 3rd.

In 2020, the United States generated around 84.21 billion US dollars in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 0.36 percent of its the gross domestic product and approximately 100 percent of all international tourism receipts in North America.

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Most popular destinations in the United States

No less than seven cities in the United States are among the top 100 most popular destinations worldwide. In 2021, New York reached the 7th place. This value was determined by Euromonitor by analyzing and weighting the attractiveness of the cities across six different areas. Unlike in previous years, there is no longer a ranking based on the number of tourists, mainly due to a lack of travel data.

New York#7
Los Angeles#14
Orlando, FL#22
Las Vegas, NV#28
San Francisco#37
Honolulu, HI#50

Tourism in the United States of AmericaOn average, each of the tourists arriving in 2020 spent about 1,776 US dollars. Conversely, the inhabitants of the United States spend only around 766 dollars a year when they themselves spend vacations abroad.

Development of the tourism sector in the United States from 1995 to 2020

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in the United States each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g., crew members of ships or flights are also not considered tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

Data in the chart are given in millions of tourists. The red line represents the average of all 3 countries in North America.

Tourists per year in the United States of America

Revenues from tourism

In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 93.74 billion USD, or about 1.2 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 79.73 million tourists at that time and roughly 1,176 USD per person. Within 25 years, the country's dependence on tourism has decreased slightly. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales were $239.45 billion billion, 1.1 percent of gross national product. Thus, each visitor spent an average of $1,447 on their vacation in the United States.

In 2020, tourist receipts plummeted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $239.45 billion billion (2019), only $84.21 billion billion remained. This is a 65 percent decrease in the United States.

Tourism receipts in the United States of America per year

All data for the United States of America in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPReceipts per tourist
202045.04 m84.21 bn $0.40 %1,870 $
2019165.48 m239.45 bn $1.1 %1,447 $
2018169.32 m241.98 bn $1.2 %1,429 $
2017174.29 m233.76 bn $1.2 %1,341 $
2016175.26 m228.55 bn $1.2 %1,304 $
2015176.86 m230.57 bn $1.3 %1,304 $
2014178.31 m222.75 bn $1.3 %1,249 $
2013179.31 m213.11 bn $1.3 %1,188 $
2012171.63 m195.11 bn $1.2 %1,137 $
2011147.27 m178.94 bn $1.2 %1,215 $
2010162.28 m161.82 bn $1.1 %997 $
2009160.51 m137.11 bn $0.95 %854 $
2008175.70 m149.09 bn $1.0 %849 $
2007175.30 m134.80 bn $0.93 %769 $
2006183.18 m121.03 bn $0.88 %661 $
200571.48 m116.68 bn $0.90 %1,632 $
200467.61 m107.21 bn $0.88 %1,586 $
200362.08 m94.81 bn $0.83 %1,527 $
200264.43 m97.42 bn $0.89 %1,512 $
200170.98 m105.45 bn $1.00 %1,486 $
200078.34 m118.32 bn $1.2 %1,510 $
199975.80 m109.19 bn $1.1 %1,441 $
199874.77 m105.10 bn $1.2 %1,406 $
199782.53 m107.05 bn $1.2 %1,297 $
199682.76 m102.20 bn $1.3 %1,235 $
199579.73 m93.74 bn $1.2 %1,176 $

Our data on tourist numbers, revenues and expenditures are based on information from the World Tourism Organization. However, to ensure international comparability, the data for some years or countries were manually researched and corrected if they obviously included visitors without overnight stays. In these cases, the data were taken from the official communications of the respective national tourism authorities.

The World Tourism Organization additionally points out that in some countries, the number of tourists is only counted at airports, while in others they are also counted at border crossings or even hotels. A comprehensive and reliable indication is therefore hardly possible in any country.

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