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Business Travel Spurs Rapid Growth in Number of Overseas Visitors

Houston outpaced all other U.S. cities for 2013 growth in foreign visitors.



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Houston experienced the largest increase in overseas visitors of any U.S. city between 2012 and 2013, according to a new study from the Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office. Roughly 801,000 foreign travelers came to Houston in 2013, up 22 percent from the year prior. That’s not counting travelers from Mexico and Canada.

“If you add Mexico and Canada to the equation, you’re looking at an additional almost million travelers to Houston,” says Jorge Franz, vice president of international sales and tourism for the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Franz says the lion’s share of new travel is business related, either to attend conventions or for corporate training, “that is, related to folks coming in to learn on the latest technologies having to do with hydraulic fracturing or having to do with deep-sea drilling or anything like that in the energy sector, and also with medical, I mean, doctors coming in to do training at medical facilities in the Texas Medical Center.”

Houston now ranks number 12 on the list of U.S. cities attracting the most overseas visitors. The only other Texas city on the list was Dallas at number 18. New York, Miami, and Los Angeles took the top three places.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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