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July 19, 2016

Strong U.S. Dollar Bolsters American Travel

With a stronger dollar behind it, the U.S. was one of the largest foreign markets for several of the world’s most-visited cities over the past 18 months.

Some of these cities — a few which are ultra long-haul destinations from the U.S. — have seen double-digit growth from U.S. arrivals and expect that momentum to continue.

International tourist arrivals data from tourism boards and tourism ministries for several of the world’s most-visited cities by international travelers showed these findings. We compared changes in visitor arrivals data across these cities since 2014, and found the U.S. market was one of the largest for many of these cities and showed notable growth.

London, for example, had a 10.5 percent increase from 2014 to 2016 in its U.S. arrivals. The U.S. is London’s largest foreign market, with 2.1 million Americans visiting the UK capital last year. Last year, London welcomed a record 18.6 million international tourists and it was the first year the city surpassed the 18 million visitor threshold, a 6.8 percent increase from 2014’s 17.4 million visitors.

But Hong Kong, several thousand miles further away from the U.S. than London, had nearly five percent growth in U.S. arrivals from 2014 to 2016. Hong Kong is the world’s most-visited city due to the influx of mainland Chinese travelers, and the U.S. is its second-largest market with the second highest growth in arrivals compared to past two years.

Some cities, such as Paris, haven’t finalized their tourist arrival numbers for 2015. Paris was the fifth most-visited city by international travelers in 2015with nearly 15 million international arrivals that year. Like London, Americans are the largest market for Paris with more than 1.5 million visiting in 2015. However, the long-term  impact of recent  & future terrorist attacks is yet to be known. 

International arrival totals for cities like Paris and Istanbul were likely impacted in the latter part of 2015 due to terror attacks in both cities. 

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