U.S. Department of Commerce Releases First Cultural Heritage Visitor Profile

22 August 2011

International Cultural Heritage Traveler Arrivals Up 14 Percent Over 2009

The U.S. Department of Commerce announces the release of its first Cultural Heritage Visitor (CHV) Profile. The CHV profile showcases select characteristics of overseas visitors who participated in one or more of the following activities: art gallery/museum, concert/play/musical, cultural heritage sites, ethnic heritage sites, American Indian community, historical places, and national parks.

The profile can be accessed directly from the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries' website:


The United States welcomed nearly 15.4 million overseas cultural heritage travelers in 2010, outpacing the average growth of all overseas arrivals to the United States (14% and 11%, respectively). Since 2004, the number of travelers participating in CHV activities has increased from 10.6 million (68.7% of the market) to the current 15.4 million, or 71.2 percent of all overseas visitors.

Europe visitors dominate this market, with almost 56 percent of all European travelers stating they participated in CHV activities while visiting the United States, followed by Asia (19%) and South America (13%).

The top countries interested in cultural heritage related activities are: Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Each posted increases in the number of travelers participating in this type of activity, although market share shifts were up and down as they were for the other top 12 countries highlighted.

Among the top destinations visited by CHV travelers, the share was higher for: New York, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Among the top cities, the CHV share was higher for: New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Washington, DC. These shifts in share also change the rankings of the top destinations for CHV travelers when compared to the average overseas traveler to the country, further defining cultural heritage destinations for the United States.

CHV travelers take longer to plan their trips and book their flights earlier than the average overseas visitor. They tend to be more first-time travelers, stay longer in the United States, and visit more destinations than the average traveler.
The Office of Travel and Tourism Industries also publishes similar profiles highlighting the business, leisure, hotel and rental car segment. Each profile offers insights into overseas travelers who visit the United States, but viewed through these specific segment lenses. These data serve as a starting point towards better understanding these visitors so the travel and tourism industry can provide them with the types of travel experiences they want when traveling to the United States. To see the other sector profiles, please visit: http://www.tinet.ita.doc.gov/outreachpages/inbound.general_information.inbound_overview.html