We all know that tourism brings in big money and there are several reasons why international visitors choose their destinations the way they do. The United States welcomed more than 32 million overseas visitors in 2013. More than a third of the country’s tourists come from Western Europe, while more than a quarter come from Asia and close to a fifth come from South America.
These numbers make the U.S. the second most visited country in the world. But do you have any idea which states are winning when it comes to attracting the most foreign visitors? Let’s find out which are the 10 most visited US states:
10. New Jersey
New Jersey is an interesting case in that it does not have a single city included in the list of top destinations in the country for 2013. In fact, New Jersey makes it into this list because of the fact that it is very near New York City and some visitors coming to see the Big Apple arrive via the Newark Airport. So you can think of New Jersey as the moon, feeding off the reflected light of the sun, New York City. Not that they are complaining. The state happily welcomes the spillover of NYC tourists. New Jersey has, in fact, received more than 900,000 visitors in 2013 who, by most indications, are spending money in the state.
Pennsylvania attracts a sizable portion of international visitors because of the state’s diverse attractions and because of its central location. You can enjoy the outdoors at the Pocono Mountains, or check out the Dutch Country. And then get a glimpse of the state’s rich and colorful history in Philadelphia. The state welcomed close to a million international visitors in 2013.
Many visitors travel to Chicago to try the deep dish pizza, to enjoy a variety of professional sports or to admire the eye-catching architecture. Illinois welcomed more than 1.4 million international visitors, with a solid 1.38 million of them visiting Chicago.
Massachusetts has several attractions for visitors to see and visit. The state enjoys a strong preference among international visitors for Boston. Aside from having the Logan International Airport as the entry point for visitors to the state, it is also a hotspot for education with Harvard University, Boston College, Boston University, UM-Boston, and other top universities having an address in the city. Massachusetts welcomed close to 1.4 million visitors in 2013.
The state surpassed Illinois and Massachusetts in the rankings, becoming the 6th most popular state for international travelers with 1.6 million visitors in 2013. This is thanks to Houston and Dallas, both of which account for almost 3 out of every 4 international visitors into the state.
It would probably come as no surprise that almost all of the nearly 3 million international visitors to Nevada went to Las Vegas. The gambling, the entertainment, and other attractions in Las Vegas are just too difficult to resist, and it is not just the foreigners who find them so. Local tourists are also drawn to the “City of Lights” and the “Gambling Capital of the World,” making it the top city for local tourism.
More than 3.1 million international travelers visited Hawaii in 2013, mainly because of its gorgeous beaches. Hawaii appeals mostly to Asian visitors.
With close to 6.5 million overseas visitors in 2013, California is one of only three states with more than 5 million international travelers. California benefits from both San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as from a variety of national parks, and the best flights for airlines from Asia.
Florida welcomed 7.2 million visitors in 2013 that selected this state as their travel destination, because ot its many amusement parks, stunning beaches, and natural beauty.
1. New York
New York State has been at the top of any most visited list for the longest time now. In 2013, it had close to 10 million international visitors. Just imagine, 3 out of every 10 international visitors in the country go to New York State! Undoubtedly, the many top attractions in New York City are the reasons for most of these visits by overseas tourists, but there are several other attractions in the state outside of NYC that attract travelers, too.
If you are getting that feeling of wanderlust, then give in to your itchy feet. You can never go wrong with visiting these states. Who knows, you might get to meet overseas travelers along the way.