The most popular cities in the United States for international travelers are New York and Los Angeles. In 2023, New York ranked 8th among the world’s most popular cities. Los Angeles was in 19th. Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Honolulu have also regularly achieved good rankings in the past, with high visitor numbers.
Development of the tourism sector in the United States from 1995 to 2021
The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in the United States each year. Until 2005, tourists were defined as anyone who spent at least one night in the country but did not live there for longer than 12 months. Since 2006, same-day-visitors from neighboring countries are also included. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g., crew members of ships or flights are also not considered tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.Data in the chart are given in millions of tourists. The red line represents the average of all 4 countries in North America. Please note the jump between 2005 and 2006, when the calculation method was changed to include day tourists. For the calculation of income and expenditure, this was already the case before.
Top Travel Destinations within the USA
The United States is a vast and diverse country with a wide variety of destinations to suit every interest and preference. From vibrant cities to breathtaking natural wonders. The most essential destinations within the USA are:
New York City
“The Big Apple” is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that truly never sleeps. Here you will find world famous landmarks such as Times Square, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. The island of Manhattan with its skyline is one of the most photographed subjects.
One of the most impressive natural wonders in the world, the Grand Canyon in Arizona is a must-see for nature lovers. The massive canyon formed from the Colorado River offers breathtaking panoramic views and hiking trails.
This tropical paradise is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, located over 3500 km from the mainland. Breathtaking beaches, lush rainforests and pristine landscapes offer plenty of variety. Each of the islands has its own charm, from the vibrant city life of Honolulu on Oahu to the rugged Napali Coast of Kauai and the active volcanoes on Big Island. Also noteworthy here is the Hawaiian culture, which is noticeably different from that of the mainland.
On the scenic California coast, the city is best known for its striking Golden Gate Bridge. Vibrant neighborhoods like Chinatown and Haight-Ashbury and historic Alcatraz Island are the biggest draws.
Yellowstone National Park
The national park is spread across the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Natural phenomena such as geysers, hot springs, waterfalls and diverse wildlife attract countless visitors each year. The park is home to the famous Old Faithful geyser, the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring, and Yellowstone Lake. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, camping, and often wildlife viewing.
This lively city on Florida’s southeast coast is known for its long beaches, vibrant nightlife and multicultural atmosphere. Visitors can explore the trendy South Beach and Wynwood neighborhoods. The city’s Latin flair is also special.
Revenues from tourism
In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 93.74 billion USD, or about 1.2 percent of the gross national product. Within 26 years, the country’s dependence on tourism has decreased slightly. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales were $239.45 billion billion, 1.1 percent of gross national product.
In 2020, tourist receipts plummeted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $239.45 billion billion (2019), only $84.21 billion billion remained. This is a 65 percent decrease in the United States.
On average, each of the tourists arriving in 2021 spent about 3,565 US dollars.
All data for the United States of America in detail
Our data on tourist numbers, revenues and expenditures are based on information from the World Tourism Organization. However, to ensure international comparability, the data for some years or countries were manually researched and corrected if they obviously included visitors without overnight stays. In these cases, the data were taken from the official communications of the respective national tourism authorities.
The World Tourism Organization additionally points out that in some countries, the number of tourists is only counted at airports, while in others they are also counted at border crossings or even hotels. A comprehensive and reliable indication is therefore hardly possible in any country.