• 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 represents the region overseas in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. DNE also conducts per-project work in China, France, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. 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.

Incoming International Visitors: 2017 Data

Visitation to the United States
38.9 million international visitors (excludes Canada/Mexico) came to the U.S. in 2017. These travelers spent over $251 billion on US travel and tourism related goods and services. International travel is one of the largest exports for the United States, ranking ahead of agricultural goods and motor vehicles.

Visitation to New England
More than 2.2 million overseas visitors came to New England in 2017 (excluded Canada and Mexico). These overseas travelers spent $7.1 billion in total direct expenditures in New England.


Top Visitor Markets to New England: 2017 Data

The top 10 markets for international visitors (excludes Canada/Mexico) into New England were: China, UK, Germany, France, India, Brazil, South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Australia.

Travel from China
In 2017, an estimated 380,000 Chinese travelers came to New England with direct spending of $2,130.5.**

Travel from the UK
In 2017, an estimated 292,000 UK travelers came to New England with direct spending of $615.8.**

Travel from Germany
In 2017, an estimated 148,000 German travelers came to New England with direct spending of $270.4.**

Travel from France
In 2017, an estimated 114,000 French travelers came to New England with direct spending of $223.2.**

** Visitor spending includes: all leisure, education and other travel spend. 


U.S. International Travel Forecast: 2018-2020

According to a U.S. Commerce Department forecast, by 2020, an estimated 96 million international visitors (excludes Canada and Mexico) are expected to travel to the U.S.


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