Want to know which states are winning the race for valuable tourism dollars from overseas visitors? Well, check out the latest statistics from the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries which tracks inbound tourism to the United States. Below readers will find the 10 most visited states in the United States by overseas travelers in 2013, excluding visitors from Canada and Mexico. To put the numbers into perspective, the United States received 32 million international visitors altogether. Of all the international visitors who visited the United States, 37% are from Western Europe, 28% are from Asia and 16% are from South America.
1. New Jersey with 929,000 visitors
[Also see our travel article “The Ten Best Nude Beaches in the United States“]
New Jersey managed to crack the top 10 of most visited states and enjoy an 8% surge in international visitors since 2012 despite not having a single city among the top 20 most visited American cities. So what’s bringing international visitors to New Jersey? Well, to put it simply, New York is. The Newark airport is one of New York City’s three airports and the state’s close proximity to New York City, with its huge amount of visitors, has meant that there’s enough spillover for New Jersey to enjoy a healthy tourism industry.
2. Pennsylvania with 993,000 visitors
Pennsylvania is a diverse destination that has a number of fascinating cities, like Philadelphia, a central location on the Eastern Seaboard and some cool rural attractions, like the Pennsylvania Dutch Country or the Pocono Mountains. And though the state’s international visitors have only grown by 4% since 2012, Philadelphia, its leading city, has seen its visitor arrivals jump by 13% as more and more visitors discover the city.
3. Massachusetts with 1,378,000 visitors
[Also see our travel article “Five American Small Towns that are Great for Hiking“]
Massachusetts is another state that was leapfrogged by Texas in 2013, as the state only enjoyed a 3% growth rate – Texas received 17% more international visitors in 2013. Boston, however, still receives more visitors than any city in Texas, as it’s the chief entry point for most visitors to Massachusetts and a world leader in higher education.
4. Illinois with 1,442,000 visitors
[Also see our travel article “Top 10 Reasons to Visit Chicago“]
Illinois makes it onto this almost solely because of the appeal of its largest city, Chicago. Each year 1.378 million international visitors travel to Chicago to discover America’s second city, which is known for its deep-dish pizza, blues bars, sports teams, unique architecture and laid-back attitude. That said, Illinois is losing ground in the tourism race, as its lack of other key-note attractions has caused it to experience a lackluster growth in tourism arrivals – only 3% since 2012.
5. Texas with 1,570,000 visitors
[Also see our travel article “Exploring the Texas Hill Country“]
Texas is the only state on this list to move up positions in this year’s rankings, as Texas has surpassed both Illinois and Massachusetts to become the sixth most visited state in the United States. With 1.57 million visitors, Texas received 17% more international visitors in 2013 than it did in 2012, which is one of the largest increases of any state. Houston and Dallas are the state’s most visited cities, the two of which account for 73% of the state’s visitors.