Foreign visitation to the U.S. on the road to recovery

The travel market is showing some signs of stability! Finally! In September, the Department of Commerce reports that 4.1 million people visited the United States from abroad, down only 1 percent from the previous September. Visitation for the first nine months of this year fell 8 percent. Spending was down 14 percent from September to September, hitting $10.3 billion for the month. Year-to-date, foreign visitors to the United States have spent $90.6 billion, which is off 16 percent year-over-year. Nonetheless, it’s headed in the right direction. Nonetheless, foreign visitation suffered its eleventh straight month of declines.

Canadian visitation ticked up 3 percent in September, though for the first nine months of the year, it’s still down 7 percent. Meanwhile, visits from Mexico fell a modest 1 percent from September 2008 to September 2009 and is down 6 percent for the year.

Visitors crossing an ocean to reach the United States fell 4 percent in September — bringing the year-to-date decline to 9 percent. In September, 11 of the top 20 countries posted declines, five of them at double-digit rates. But, there’s some good news. Visits from the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Ireland posted double-digit year-over-year increases for the month.