WASHINGTON – The Commerce Department recently announced it expected international travel to the United States to grow significantly in the next five years. Visitor volume is expected to increase 7 percent and to reach 64 million visitors who stay at least one night in the US. This is good news seeing that restaurants realize up to 40 percent of their annual sales from travelers and visitors, according to the National Restaurant Association.

International visitor volume is anticipated to grow 6 percent to 8 percent annually between in the next five years. That would mean 89 million visitors by 2016, a 49 percent increase from 20101 — and an additional 29 million visitors.

All world regions are forecast to grow over the period, with the greatest coming from Asia and Oceania. Countries with the largest forecasted growth are China (232 percent), South Korea (200 percent), Brazil (150 percent), Russian Federation (139 percent) and India (94 percent).

Six countries are expected to account for three-fourths of the projected growth between 2010 through 2016 — Canada, Mexico, South Korea, China, Brazil and the United Kingdom. The expected growth from Canada would be larger than visitor volume from other country in 2016 except Mexico.