OTTI: Overseas Travel, Rental Vehicle Usage Down in 2009

The Office of Travel and Tourism Industries recently published 2009 statistics about overseas travel to the U.S. and reported a 6 percent decline in visitors from 2008.

The OTTI's 2009 Sector Profile on Rental Cars details how this affected the car rental industry. Compared to the previous year, the number of overseas visitors from countries other than Mexico and Canada using rental cars decreased by 9 percent, and the share of overall visitors decreased 0.9 percentage points to 29.1 percent. While the total number of overseas visitors to U.S. who use rental cars has increased 16 percent since 2002, share of overseas visitors using rental cars is down 7 percent in that time frame.

Business travel as the main purpose of trip decreased by 3.2 percent in 2009 from the previous year, but leisure travel increased by 3.4 percent.

Of visitors using rental cars, 53 percent were from Western Europe, 20.9 percent were from Asia and 14.5 percent were from South America. South Americans had the greatest increase in market share of travelers to the U.S. using rental cars since 2008. By country of residence, the United Kingdom topped the list of those using rental cars with 19.7 percent, followed by Japan and Germany.

Of car renters, the use of personal computer to plan the trip was highest at 50 percent (1.3 percent point increase), but there was a 2.3 percentage point increase in using airlines directly as an information source for trip planning.

Of those travelers who used rental cars, the most popular state destination was Florida with 36.1 percent, followed by California and New York, although all states saw decreases in visitors. Of the cities visited by vehicle renters, New York City tops the list with 21.9 percent market share, followed by Orlando and Miami. Of the most popular car renting cities, Miami saw the biggest jump in overseas renters since 2008, while San Francisco had the largest decline since 2008.

Advance trip decision time of those using rental cars decreased by 3.8 days, but the length of stay in the U.S. remained the same at 16.3 mean nights.

The OTTI expects international travel to pick up, predicting a 2 percent increase in overseas travel in 2010.

More statistics from the OTTI can be found at http://www.tinet.ita.doc.gov/outreachpages/inbound.general_information.inbound_overview.html.

The 2009 Sector Profile: Rental Car can be found at http://www.tinet.ita.doc.gov/outreachpages/download_data_table/2009_car_rental_profile.pdf.

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