Skift Take

This is a rather predictable set of numbers with the exception of the Middle East’s increase in market share, which could be attributed to business trips or the emergence of safe spots like Dubai as global destinations.

Americans are so predictable in their travel choices: An all-inclusive resort in Mexico, a business trip to Canada, or the usual sightseeing routes in Europe.

A total 60.7 million U.S. citizens left the country in 2012, the first annual increase since 2007, reports the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.

The most popular travel destinations among U.S. citizens are overwhelming located in North America with Canada and Mexico capturing more than half, or 53 percent, of all U.S. international outbound travel.

A total of 32.2 million Americans traveled to the two countries in 2012, a two percent increase over 2011.

Country Outbound Visitors YOY Change (%) Market Share (%)
Mexico 20.4 million 1 33.5
Canada 11.9 million 2 19.5

Outside of North America, the number of U.S. citizens traveling overseas increased six percent over 2012 to 25.5 million. Capturing almost the same market share as Canada, Europe was the top choice for overseas travel with 11.2 million Americans arriving in 2012. This is followed by the Caribbean and Asia with each receiving 6.4 million and 4.3 million U.S. visitors, respectively.

There was one surprise in OTTI’s finding: Central America and the Middle East were the fastest growing tourism markets for U.S. visitors with each increasing 11 percent year-over-year, though on the smallest base.

Region Outbound Visitors YOY Change (%) Market Share (%)
Europe 11.2 million 4 19
Caribbean 6.4 million 7 11
Asia 4.3 million 4 7
Central America 2.4 million 11 4
South America 1.7 million 3 3
Middle East 1.5 million 11 3
Oceania 547,000 8 1
Africa 365,000 -1 1

The most popular month to travel in North America was July with 3.7 million Americans heading to Canada or Mexico and the most popular month to go overseas was June with 3.3 million Americans traveling to Europe, Asia, and beyond.

Overall July was the most popular month for international travel falling right in line with the first month that children are out of school and families take their annual vacations.


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Tags: tourism, usa, vacations

Photo credit: A family checks into their hotel on vacation. Holiday Extras / Flickr

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