Here is How Much U.S. Outbound Travel Has Increased Around the World the Last 20 Years


People living in the US are traveling outside the United States more than ever. The National Travel and Tourism Office data shows that in 1996, there were just under 27 million trips taken outside the US. In 2016, there were 72.5 million. But where are these people heading? And what regions have seen the biggest spikes in tourism over the past 20 years?

We pulled data on a region-by-region basis from the NTTO and the State Department, creating two maps that show this big uptick in outbound travel.

First, you can see the total increase by raw numbers below. Each region is colored according to the increase in amount of US citizens who traveled to these areas in 2016 compared to 1996.

Comparing 1996 to 2016, here is how many more outbound US travelers visited specific regions:



Second, you can see the total increase as a percentage over the past 20 years, as seen here. Notice that the Middle East, Central America and some Asian countries saw big increases, as travel and business opportunities have increased considerably over this time period.

Between 1996 and 2016, here is the % change in total number of outbound US travelers annually visiting each region:



Here are the raw numbers for each region. We also pulled individual numbers on specific countries (China being a prime example) for use in the map above when available:

199620062016Difference% Difference
South America1,455,5002,317,9211,781,067325,56722.4
Middle East433,800478,2821,935,2161,501,416346.1
Central America1,045,6002,371,2232,655,4561,609,856154.0