Recent reports from 2014 indicate that more Americans are travelling to other countries than ever before. According to the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office, 68.3 million American citizens travelled abroad in 2014, a 10 percent increase from 2013. These numbers come after years of decline in international tourism by U.S. citizens, as well as the significantly lower percentage of Americans who own passports in comparison to other North American countries.
The Los Angeles Times found that the previous record for outbound foreign travel in the U.S. was 64 million travellers in 2007. The Great Recession within the country was predominantly responsible for the decrease, and 2014 marks the first time international travel has seen a double-digit increase in 10 years.
However, travel destinations remain the same, with Mexico and Canada being the top two countries visited by Americans traveling abroad in 2014. In fact, these travel plans accounted for approximately 55 percent of all international trips taken. Additionally, locations such as Europe, the Caribbean and Asia experienced increases in the amount of American visitors last year.
There has long been a notion that many Americans don't seem to hold international travel as a matter of importance. According to the U.S. Department of State, roughly 36 percent of Americans owned a passport in 2013, far below the approximately 60 percent of Canadians who do.
These trends may be changing, as recent reports indicate that younger generations of Americans are putting more emphasis on travelling outside the country. The Institute of International Education states that the number of U.S. college students studying abroad has continued to increase over recent years, including a record 283,000 student travellers in 2013.