When we last looked at the traffic for U.S. tourism websites in November 2013 we weren’t that impressed by their performance relative to other travel and tourism sites.

We figured it’s time to recheck the data as it’s been 15 months since we last charted tourism websites’ traffic. Using data from SimilarWeb and cross-checked with Quantcast (when possible), this story looks at the top official destination marketing organization sites run by states and cities across the United States (in terms of traffic), for February 2015. We’ve found SimilarWeb’s traffic stats to be a relatively good barometer of consumer web activity, better than other traffic comparison sites, at least as far as proportional comparison goes.

We’re also running our Future of Destination Marketing series, where we interview CEOs of destination marketing organizations on how they see their roles and organizations within the visitor experience changing.

Overall, the monthly traffic for most U.S. tourism sites for February 2015 was higher than when we last checked in November 2013 and even if we consider the past six months traffic is still higher overall. This proves last month’s traffic isn’t an anomaly and the top U.S. tourism sites get more visits now versus 2013.

New York City, for example, welcomed more than 56 million visitors last year and nycgo.com, the city’s main tourism website, only got 1.8 million visits last month, the most of any U.S. city or state tourism site.

Biggest Takeaways From the Numbers Below:

  • Most tourism sites have more monthly visits than the last time we checked, with the exception of a few decreases such as visitnh.gov and visitmississippi.org. We verified Quantcast numbers for those available, which we’ve noted below and even if Similarweb is undercounting, as it seems to be based on Quantcast numbers, and even if you double traffic to each of these sites, it still comes up to puny numbers.
  • Big cities like Los Angeles and Chicago saw their monthly traffic exponentially increase since we last checked: Discoverlosangeles.com’s traffic more than doubled from 310K in November 2013 to 680K last month and Choosechicago.com’s traffic nearly quadrupled from 170K in November 2013 to 630K last month. This increased Choosechicago’s ranking from twentieth to fifth out of the fifty-three tourism sites we looked at and Discoverlosangeles’ went from seventh to third overall.
  • Overall, the percentage of traffic coming from the U.S. to these sites has decreased, if only by a few percentage points in most cases, which might be good news for destinations trying to reach international audiences.
  • Many of the tourism boards have latched onto social media in a big way, especially Facebook and Instagram, and that’s become the proxy for all online content creation and marketing for these brands. That could also explain why the main consumer tourism sites are being ignored internally.
  • Some of the big city sites do well, not surprisingly, and NYC makes it to the top among all tourism sites in U.S., followed by Las Vegas, though Vegas should do much better especially as it is positions the site as a booking portal as well.
  • The main DiscoverAmerica.com site still has very little traffic, considering its audience is the world, and goes on to show the ineffective job BrandUSA has done in building up tourism marketing machinery for U.S.. Although, compared to November 2013 the site had 130K more visitors last month and more visits per month for the past six months than the amount of visitors for November 2013.
  • VisitCalifornia.com, for being the main tourism site for the largest touristed state in U.S., is still small when comparing to its November 2013 traffic, we had to triple-check this one. But perhaps the site will benefit from VisitCalifornia increasing its annual budget from $50 million to $100 million.
  • Virginia and Florida are two states that deserve special recognition for being smart and very active with their digital strategy overall, and it helps them climb up the ranks.
  • VisitPhilly punches above its weight in all possible ways. For being a mid-sized non-gateway city, its tourism board has done admirably with the resources it has. It’s not easy for a city to beat both Florida and California, but Philly does it.
  • Most mountain and west coast states and cities’ monthly traffic increased since 2013, with states like Montana and Oregon seeing more traffic than Illinois, New Jersey, or South Carolina.

February 2015 Traffic for Top U.S. City and State Tourism Websites

RANKSITEESTIMATED VISITS, February 2015TIME ON SITE (IN MINUTES)PAGE VIEWS PER VISITLEADING COUNTRYQuantcast Verified UVs, if Available
1Nycgo.com1.8M6.045.98United States 79.58%N/A
2Lasvegas.com1.58M5:075.03United States 76.01%N/A
3Discoverlosangeles.com680K2.362.88United States 83.14%638K
4Visitorlando.com640K3.343.59United States 71.13%N/A
5Choosechicago.com630K4.063.82United States 90.95%N/A
6Gohawaii.com600K4.548.67United States 70.18%N/A
7Visitphilly.com550K3.543.79United States 91.25%571.2K
8Sanfrancisco.travel510K3.013.22United States 78.72%N/A
9Neworleansonline.com510K2.493.18United States 88.72%N/A
10Visitflorida.com510K2.082.67United States 83.95%724.4K
11Travelalaska.com460K1.52.12United States 86.71%N/A
12Denver.org480K4.496.2United States 94.75%N/A
13Colorado.com390K2.362.99United States 91.99%462.2K
14Washington.org380K3.273.98United States 88.63%N/A
15Miamiandbeaches.com370K4.044.1United States 73.27%297.6K
16Virginia.org330K6.045.95United States 95.24%N/A
17Michigan.org330K4.084.46United States 92.84%429.9K
18Visitcalifornia.com240K3.163.03United States 74.81%N/A
19Visitmusiccity.com (Nashville)240K2.523.61United States 93.95%N/A
20Travelwisconsin.com240K2.443.47United States 95.18%N/A
21Discoveramerica.com230K2.532.77United States 37.96%N/A
22Arkansas.com220K44.14United States 94.34%N/A
23Traveloregon.com220K3.123.28United States 81.69%N/A
24Exploregeorgia.org210K2.212.59United States 92.99%286.6K
25Visitnc.com210K2.142.89United States 81.82%N/A
26Visitseatle.org150K2.092.16United States 83.46%N/A
27Tnvacation.com140K4.364.12United States 79.55%150.6K
28Visitpa.com140K1.292.07United States 90.09%160.4K
29Louisianatravel.com130K3.113.05United States 90.14%358.3K
30Iloveny.com130K3.065.72United States 81.5%N/A
31Massvacation.com130K2.273.75United States 86.6%N/A
32Exploreminnesota.com120K3.074.35United States 94.68%N/A
33Visitmt.com100K4.074.28United States 83.28%N/A
34Visitmaine.com100K2.012.45United States 82.79%N/A
35Visitutah.com95K3.513.8United States: 83.41%N/A
36Kentuckytourism.com95K2.473.11United States 93.47%N/A
37Newmexico.org90K2.582.73United States 92.2%N/A
38Ctvisit.com85K2.242.63United States 96.27%N/A
39Visitmaryland.org80K4.314.15United States 95.25%82K
40Visitidaho.org80K2.272.59United States 87.7%54.7K
41Visitnj.org80K1.583.07United States 91.89%109.4K
42Visitmo.com75K2.42.55United States 95.22%N/A
43Enjoyillinois.com70K3.213.2United States 86.95%N/A
44Discoversouthcarolina.com70K1.272.08United States 91.04%N/A
45Visitdelaware.com65K2.423.32United States 92.23%N/A
46Wyomingtourism.org65K2.372.78United States 86.11%N/A
47travelsd.com60K3.384.09United States 91.41%N/A
48Discoverohio.com55K2.543.46United States 95.51%32.4K
49Travelnevada.com55K2.272.93United States 87.07%N/A
50Visitnh.gov55K2.132.89United States 89.09%N/A
51Experiencewa.com50K2.414.77United States 83.88%51.3K
52Vermontvacation.com30K1.332.03United States 88.26%N/A
53Visitmississippi.org15K4.123.03United States 86.22%N/A

Note: the number of estimated visits is for desktop only

Source: SimilarWeb and Quantcast

Photo Credit: NYC & Co.'s website. PlaceIt by Breezi