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Travel and tourism industry in the U.S. - statistics & facts

The United States is one of the most popular travel destinations worldwide. Every year, the country's famous cities, national parks, and entertainment options attract millions of visitors from around the globe. In 2019, the number of international tourist arrivals to the U.S. stood at almost 80 million after being on the rise for over a decade. Thanks to this influx of visitors and a boost in U.S. travel spending, the travel and tourism industry contributed over 1.1 trillion U.S. dollars to the country's GDP and supported millions of jobs in 2019. However, following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the U.S. travel industry's employment rates and economic output were left severely impaired.

What are the most popular travel destinations in the United States?

As one of the largest countries in the world, the United States is home to a variety of attractions. Ranging from buzzing state capitals and modern gambling powerhouses to ancient UNESCO heritage sites, the country's geographic and cultural diversity appeals to many different types of tourists. A hot spot among travelers is New York City: In 2019, the Big Apple was the leading tourist destination in the United States, with over 14 million international arrivals. Thanks to its numerous museums, cultural attractions, and sightseeing options, New York is ranked in the top 10 cities for international visitor spending worldwide. Other popular destinations include Miami, Las Vegas, and Walt Disney World - the world's most-visited theme park.

U.S. travel trends

One of the most visible trends in the travel and tourism industry is the growing popularity of non-traditional accommodation options. While hotels remain a popular choice among tourists, accommodation services such as Airbnb are increasingly being booked for overnight stays, as they can be less expensive and offer a more “grassroots” holiday experience than hotel rooms. These days, tourists also look for more sustainable accommodation and travel options to limit their ecological footprint. Just as in other world regions, ecotourism and other environmentally friendly concepts are rising in the United States.

The impact of COVID-19 on travel and tourism in the United States

The global travel and tourism industry was and continues to be severely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In the United States, where infection rates began to surge in early 2020, quarantine orders and travel restrictions put a huge strain on inbound and outbound tourism. According to the latest estimates, hotel occupancy and revenue rates plunged by double-digits in 2020, while the United States experienced an overall drop in travel spending of around 355 billion U.S. dollars. While the long-term damages caused by the pandemic cannot fully be assessed yet, the standstill of public life has already affected not just tourism, but many other industries related to tourism, including the food service industry and the arts.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Travel and tourism industry in the U.S." and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Travel and tourism expenditure

Inbound and Outbound Travel

Impact of COVID-19

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 37 most important statistics relating to "Travel and tourism industry in the U.S.".

Travel and tourism in the U.S.

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Travel and tourism industry in the U.S. - statistics & facts

The United States is one of the most popular travel destinations worldwide. Every year, the country's famous cities, national parks, and entertainment options attract millions of visitors from around the globe. In 2019, the number of international tourist arrivals to the U.S. stood at almost 80 million after being on the rise for over a decade. Thanks to this influx of visitors and a boost in U.S. travel spending, the travel and tourism industry contributed over 1.1 trillion U.S. dollars to the country's GDP and supported millions of jobs in 2019. However, following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the U.S. travel industry's employment rates and economic output were left severely impaired.

What are the most popular travel destinations in the United States?

As one of the largest countries in the world, the United States is home to a variety of attractions. Ranging from buzzing state capitals and modern gambling powerhouses to ancient UNESCO heritage sites, the country's geographic and cultural diversity appeals to many different types of tourists. A hot spot among travelers is New York City: In 2019, the Big Apple was the leading tourist destination in the United States, with over 14 million international arrivals. Thanks to its numerous museums, cultural attractions, and sightseeing options, New York is ranked in the top 10 cities for international visitor spending worldwide. Other popular destinations include Miami, Las Vegas, and Walt Disney World - the world's most-visited theme park.

U.S. travel trends

One of the most visible trends in the travel and tourism industry is the growing popularity of non-traditional accommodation options. While hotels remain a popular choice among tourists, accommodation services such as Airbnb are increasingly being booked for overnight stays, as they can be less expensive and offer a more “grassroots” holiday experience than hotel rooms. These days, tourists also look for more sustainable accommodation and travel options to limit their ecological footprint. Just as in other world regions, ecotourism and other environmentally friendly concepts are rising in the United States.

The impact of COVID-19 on travel and tourism in the United States

The global travel and tourism industry was and continues to be severely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In the United States, where infection rates began to surge in early 2020, quarantine orders and travel restrictions put a huge strain on inbound and outbound tourism. According to the latest estimates, hotel occupancy and revenue rates plunged by double-digits in 2020, while the United States experienced an overall drop in travel spending of around 355 billion U.S. dollars. While the long-term damages caused by the pandemic cannot fully be assessed yet, the standstill of public life has already affected not just tourism, but many other industries related to tourism, including the food service industry and the arts.

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