Nearly 40% of foreign travelers surveyed by Tourism Economics say they are likely to travel to the United States in the next year.

More than half of travelers surveyed (54%) said they are likely to visit two to three cities on a future intercontinental trip. When asked about specific U.S. destinations, 15% expressed interest in visiting Texas specifically, putting the Lone Star State in sixth place behind states such as California, New York and Hawaii.

Some of the leading characteristics foreign travelers identify with the U.S. overall include diverse, trendy, energetic, open-minded, adventurous and creativity.

More than 66 million foreign travelers visited the U.S. on overnight trips last year; that figure is expected to rise to 78 million this year and 86 million in 2025. However, a backlog of U.S. visa approvals has had a dampening effect on overseas trips. The federal government reports that the backlog has eased in recent months, though it remains an issue. Asked what motivated their last intercontinental trip, 30% said it was to treat themselves and have fun, followed by 21% who cited the desire to reduce stress and recharge, and 13% who answered that learning about different cultures was their main motivation.

Fifty-six percent of foreign travelers said dining and gastronomy topped the list of things they wanted to experience on their next trip, followed by 51% who said visiting cultural and historic attractions and 48% who answered urban attractions.

In 2022, the most recent year for which data is available, 2.3 million foreign travelers visited the Houston area. Travelers from Mexico specifically made up the vast majority of those visitors at 1.6 million. Overall foreign visitation is likely to surpass 2.6 million for 2023 and continue a positive trajectory this year. 

Written by A.J. Mistretta