Travel to Central America, the Middle East, and the Caribbean increase by double digits this year, while perennial favorite Europe saw modest growth.
LOS ANGELES _ Americans are dusting off their passports and seeing the world in big numbers.
In the first two months of 2012, 8.1 million U.S. citizens traveled abroad, a 6 percent increase over the same period in 2011, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Office of Travel & Tourism Industries.
Europe remains a popular destination for Americans, with travel numbers up 9 percent in the first two months of the year. But the biggest increases in foreign travel were to Central America (up 25 percent), the Middle East (up 19 percent) and the Caribbean (up 14 percent).
The only region of the world that Americans visited less this year is Africa, with 5 percent fewer U.S. travelers in January and February, compared with the same period in 2011, according to the federal agency data.
Mexico remains the most popular foreign destination, with 3.3 million U.S. visitors in the first two months of the year, nearly the same total for the two-month period in 2011, according to the agency.
But even bigger numbers are expected in the summer, the busiest season for international travel. Nearly 19 million U.S. citizens traveled abroad in June, July and August of 2011, according to the Office of Travel & Tourism Industries.
(c)2012 the Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch