• Windjammers pass by the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse in Rockland, Maine.
    Windjammers pass by the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse
    Rockland, Maine

Why International Visitors?

Discover New England (DNE) is a cooperative marketing alliance funded by the New England states to attract international travelers to the region. These travelers are often much more familiar with the New England "brand" than they are the individual states. DNE focuses its promotional efforts on the top overseas markets of the United Kingdom/Ireland, Germany, Japan and, most recently, Australia. Below, learn more about why international travelers are important to New England and the important role they play in the U.S. economy.

Data sources: the U.S. Department of Commerce — International Trade Administration — Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTA), National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), and International Trade Association Forecast.

Why focus on international travelers?

  • International visitors are sophisticated and savvy travelers, perfect for New England.
  • They enjoy the abundance of cultural and learning experiences found in this region of the country.
  • International visitors spend up to 10 times more than the domestic visitor.
  • The average European gets 4-6 weeks paid vacation and typically takes at least one international vacation a year.
  • These visitors do not cancel because of the weather.
  • They often travel at different times of year and fill the "slow" gaps in the U.S. market.
  • Because they are here for long periods of time, international travelers help fill beds in New England hotels and inns on weekday nights when these properties might otherwise have vacancies.

International Visitors & New England — 2015 Data

More than 2.1 million overseas visitors came to New England in 2015 (excludes Canada and Mexico).

  • U.K. Travelers: an estimated 312,000 visited the New England region in 2015. 
  • German Travelers: an estimated 155,000 came to New England in 2015.
  • Japanese Travelers: 76,000 in 2015 (JAL began non-stop flights from Tokyo to Boston effective April 2012) 

The Status of International Travel to the U.S. — 2015

International Visitation:  38.4 million international visitors (excludes Canada/Mexico) came to the U.S. in 2015. International travel is one of the largest exports for the United States, ranking ahead of agricultural goods and motor vehicles. It is the single largest services sector “export,” accounting for 33 percent of all services exports.

Spending: In 2015, international visitors spent more than $246.2 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services.  

Top Markets: For 2015, the top 10 markets for international visitors (excludes Canada/Mexico) into the U.S. were: United Kingdom, Japan, China, Germany, Brazil, So. Korea, France, Australia, India and Italy. 

International Travel Forecast — 2015-2020: According to a U.S. Commerce Department forecast (October 26, 2015), visitor volume to the U.S. is expected to rise 2.6 percent over the previous year, resulting in 77.3 million visitors. By 2020, an estimated 90.3 million visitors will come to the U.S. This figure is a 20 percent increase and an additional 15 million visitors compared to 2014 numbers. 

Travel from the United Kingdom — 2015

U.K. travelers rank third in overall incoming visits to the U.S. (behind Canada and Mexico) and first for overseas travelers to America. In 2015, 4.9 million U.K. travelers visited the U.S. Travel Market Insights forecasts that by 2020, 4.7 million U.K. travelers will visit the U.S. – an increase at an average annual rate of 2.8 percent between 2014 and 2020.

Travel from Germany — 2015

In 2015, Germany ranked sixth in overall visitation to the U.S. and second for incoming European countries. More than 2.3 million German travelers came to the US — a 10% jump over 2014. Travel Market Insights forecasts that by 2020, 2.1 million German travelers will visit the U.S. – an increase at an average annual rate of 1.7 percent between 2014-2020.

Travel from Japan — 2015

In 2015, Japan ranked second in visits to the U.S. by overseas travelers and second in spending (excludes Canada and Mexico). 3.8 million Japanese came to the U.S. that year.

Learn more about Discover New England's Annual Tourism Summit & International Marketplace to see how your organization might increase its business from overseas travelers.