In 2015, annual visitation to the United States began to decline and has yet to pick up. At the same time, Americans are traveling less frequently, often in search of something new. The results of PGAV’s fourth-annual Voice of the Visitor: Outlook on the Attractions Industry revealed a deep desire to visit places that make them feel welcome and relaxed, and a dramatic shift in the demographics of attraction visitors.

Moreover, the new Welcome! 2019 Profile of International Visitors to America revealed how travelers from China, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom plan their trips to the United States, what motivates them to do so, why many have considered a visit to the States, but are holding off until later, and where they want to visit. 68% of respondents had previously been to the United States. With the exception of Canada, still more than a third of the populations in each of the other four countries are strongly considering visiting the United States.

Over 85% of international guests noted that visiting more than two towns on average with each visit, and finding a safe and welcoming place that has a variety of attractions and activities are their key priorities when traveling to the United States.

 “Over the last several years, from the U.S. Council of Mayors to the American Alliance of Museums to the Southeast Tourism Society and beyond, we’ve heard impassioned requests for insights into what international visitors think and what they’re doing when they enter The Melting Pot; and to date, we couldn’t find a precedent,” said Mike Konzen, PGAV principal and chair. “These visitors represent an immense contribution to our economy and share of the tourism industry—and in turn represent America when they return home through their stories and photographs—and it’s imperative we strive to better understand—and welcome—these guests.”

Top Five Motivators for International Travelers
1.) Shopping (42 percent)
2.) Theme Parks (27 percent)
3.) Historic Landmarks (18 percent)
4.) Museums (10 percent)
5.) Sightseeing Tours (10 percent)

Top 10 Places Likely to Inspire a Visit to America
1.) Walt Disney World (36 percent)
2.) Disneyland (26 percent)
3.) The Grand Canyon (24 percent)
4.) Statue of Liberty (21 percent)
5.) New York City (21 percent)
6.) Niagara Falls (20 percent)
7.) Las Vegas (19 percent)
8.) Universal Studios (19 percent)
9.) Hollywood (16 percent)
10.) The Northern Lights (14 percent)

Top 10 Attraction Types Visited in 2018 (U.S. Tourists)
1.) Historic Landmarks (38 percent)
2.) Zoos/Animal Attractions (33 percent)
3.) Theaters (30 percent)
4.) Theme Parks (30 percent)
5.) History Museums (28 percent)
6.) National/State Parks (27 percent)
7.) Aquariums (24 percent)
8.) Family Entertainment Centers (22 percent)
9.) Art Museums (21 percent)
10.) Sightseeing Tours (21 percent)

Top Five Most Important Factors for U.S. Tourists
1.) Good value for the money
2.) A clean place to visit
3.) Friendly staff members
4.) Provides a safe and wholesome environment
5.) A diverse experience with a lot of different things to see and do

The survey, conducted by H2R Market Research, interviewed 1,500 American respondents who have either visited an attraction in 2018 or have plans of doing so in 2019.