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Leisure and Business Traveler Growth to U.S. Outpacing Convention Business

@denschaal

Jun 19, 2014 12:20 pm

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Conferences and trade shows could do more to attract international attendees, perhaps by tacking on or promoting leisure travel options to the main events.

— Dennis Schaal

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Pop Culture Geek  / Flickr

A trade show in Las Vegas. Pop Culture Geek / Flickr


The U.S. saw a 3% increase in overseas visitors to conferences and trade shows in 2013, but that growth didn’t keep pace with leisure travelers arriving on vacation or road warriors on business trips.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Survey of International Air Travelers, which is weighted against Department of Homeland Security data, found that overseas visitations for conventions, conferences and trade shows as the main purpose of the visit increased 3% to 3 million visitors in 2013.

But, the 21.4 million overseas travelers who arrived for vacations and holidays grew at a much faster clip, 7%, as did business trips, which saw 4.9 million overseas visitors, and that represented a 6% increase compared with 2012.

The vast majority of overseas visitors to the U.S. in 2013 came for vacations and holidays (56.9%) or to visit friends or relatives (17.1%), while a business trip as the primary reason for the visit claimed 12% of the visits, according to the survey.

Following is the breakdown of the main purpose of overseas visits to the U.S. in 2013 by leisure and business travelers.

Main Purpose of Overseas Visits to the U.S. 2013

Main Purpose of Trip All Overseas Travelers Leisure Travelers Business Travelers
Vacation/Holiday 56.90% 85.20% 3.70%
Visit Friends/Relatives 17.10% 8.70% 2.00%
Business 12.00% 1.60% 84.60%
Convention/Conference/Trade Show 7.20% 2.30% 82.00%
Education 4.60% 1.70% 1.10%

Source: National Travel and Tourism Office

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