The United States is forecasting a 4 percent average annual growth in tourism over the next six years, with 73.9 million foreign travelers expected to visit the country in 2014 alone.
Under Secretary of Commerce Stefan Selig announced the figures, from the National Travel and Tourism Office, in an October 22 news release from the International Trade Administration (ITA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Fall 2014 Travel and Tourism Forecast, containing figures ITA releases semiannually, predicts continued growth through 2019. It projects a 6 percent increase in visitors by the end of 2014, producing record numbers for the fifth consecutive year.
“The United States hosted nearly 70 million international visitors last year, and in 2014 we have already exceeded that number,” Selig said. “This is good news,” he said, as the United States strives to meet the challenge of President Obama’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy to bring more than 100 million international visitors to the United States by 2021.
Numbers of tourists from across the globe are projected to grow over the six-year period, ranging from a small increase from the Caribbean (7 percent), to strong growth from the Middle East (57 percent), Eastern Europe (49 percent), Asia (47 percent) and South America (31 percent). Countries with the largest total growth percentages are China (172 percent), Colombia (72 percent), India (47 percent), Brazil (43 percent) and Mexico (38 percent).
A ride on the St. Charles streetcar, part of the oldest operating streetcar system in America, might be in store for visitors to New Orleans. The system, shown above, was designated a national historic landmark on September 30. It joins 2,544 other sites across the country recognized as places that possess exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting U.S. heritage, the Interior Department said.