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The United States is expected to see international visitor arrivals increase up to 4.3 percent annually for the next four years, according to National Travel and Tourism Office’s 2013 Fall Travel Forecast.

This puts the country on track to welcome 83.9 million foreign visitors in 2018, up 26 percent from the 66.7 million visitors that arrived in 2012.

The greatest growth is expected from South America where a 65 percent hike in visitation would drive 7.3 million South America travelers into the U.S. in 2018. The growth is expected to be led by Argentinian (78%), Colombian (66%), and Brazilian (70%) tourists.

Visitor arrivals from Asia and the Middle East are also expected to grow 59 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

Arrival growth out of Asia will be driven by China. Chinese visitors to America are expected to increase 219 percent, more than any other country over the six year period.

Middle East growth will be driven by Saudi Arabia. The report forecasts arrivals from Saudi Arabia to increase 152 percent.

Despite these impressively large growth predictions, the largest percentage of visitors to the U.S. still come from its neighbors Canada and Mexico. Arrivals from Canada and Mexico accounted for 55 percent of all visitors in 2012, and are expected to still account for 52 percent of arrivals in 2018.

Visitor Origin RegionActual 2012Forecast 2018Change 2012-2018
1North America36,979,00043,393,00017
Western Europe11,751,0001,3151,00012
Eastern Europe727,0001,131,00056
4South America4,416,0007,296,00065
7Middle East925,0001,483,00060
8Central America803,000863,0008
Grand Total66,740,00083,894,00026

Source: National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO)

Photo Credit: Chinese tourists eat hot dogs and pizza outside of Central Park in New York City. Ed Yourdon / Flickr