The future of American tourism is surely written in Chinese. And Portuguese. And Spanish. And Hindi.

That much is clear from the latest 2014-2018 visitors forecast just released by The U.S. Department of Commerce. According to the latest forecasts, visitor volume in 2014 is expected to increase 3.6 percent and reach 72.2 million visitors who stay one or more nights in U.S.; with 3.4 percent to 4.1 percent annual growth rates over the 2014-2018 timeframe.

This means that by 2018, U.S. will have 83.8 million visitors, a 20 percent increase, and more than 14 million additional visitors compared to 2013.

As for the growth markets, countries with the largest total growth percentages over that period are China (139%), Colombia (56%), India (54%), Taiwan (52%), Brazil (50%), and Argentina (48%). Four countries are expected to account for 59 percent of the projected growth from 2013 through 2018. These volume growth leaders are Canada (23% of expected total growth), China (18%), Mexico (11%), and Brazil (7%).

If this forecast comes through through 2018, the current top-ten countries will remain in the top-ten, but China will move from #7 in 2013 to #4 in 2018, while Japan, Brazil, and German all slip down one place in the ranking.

Outside the top ten, Columbia, Argentina, and Venezuela would each move up in ranking by pushing Italy from #12 in 2013 to #15 in 2018. Taiwan, which re-entered the top 20 in 2013, would move up from #20 to #18.

Forecast by Region

North America: By 2018, Canada and Mexico are both forecast to increase by 3.2 million and 1.5 million, or 14 and 10 percent, respectively.

Europe: By 2018 arrivals from Europe are projected to be 14.8 million, or 15 percent higher than the 2013 volume. The largest growth from Europe will come from the U.K. (+611,000), Germany (+220,000), and France (206,000). Western Europe countries are expected to produce 1.6 million additional travelers in 2018 versus 2013 compared to just 360,000 additional travelers from Eastern Europe countries.

Asia-Pacific: This world region is expected to produce a 44 percent increase in visitors by 2018. Japan, the largest Asian market and second-largest overseas market, is forecast to increase by 1% each year of the forecast to produce total growth of 190,000 additional travelers by the end of 2018. Australia dominates the Oceania region and is projected to increase 304,000 visitors, or 25 percent between 2013 and 2018.

South America: By 2018 South America will generate nearly 2.2 million more visitors, a 43% increase compared to 2013. Brazil, the largest source market in the region, is expected to build on its 2013 record-breaking performance and increase 9% in 2014. By 2018 the United States could host 3.1 million Brazilian visitors, a 50% increase over 2013.

Chart 1: International Visitors to the U.S. and Projections (2000-2018)
Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 12.20.19 PM

 

Chart 2: Forecast of International Travelers to the United States by Top Origin Countries
Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 12.23.56 PM

Photo Credit: Tourists at the Grand Canyon. Teresa Stanton / Flickr