Government AffairsInternational inbound travel growth will remain negative over the next six months

Trade tensions among factors shaping US travel outlook

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International tourist numbers are dipping in the United States.
International tourist numbers are dipping in the United States. Photo Credit: Joecho-16/GettyImages

WASHINGTON - International inbound travel to the United States contracted again in July, falling by 1.2%, according to the US Travel Association's latest Travel Trends Index (TTI).

The decline follows a disappointing June performance which saw the sector's six-month trend fall below zero for the first time since September 2015.

The Leading Travel Index (LTI), the predictive component of the TTI, projects international inbound travel growth will remain negative over the next six months (-0.4%).

The worrying outlook for international inbound travel is consistent with US Travel's forecast, which projects America's share of the global long-haul travel market will fall from its current 11.7% to below 10.9% by 2022, despite a projected annual increase in volume of inbound visitors to the United States.

Factors contributing to the market-share slide include the continued strength of the US dollar, prolonged and rising trade tensions and stiff competition from rivals for tourism business.

Policy changes such as the long-term reauthorisation of the Brand USA destination marketing organisation, expanding the Visa Waiver Programme to include more qualified countries and improving Customs wait times can help reverse the decline, US Travel said.

The TTI's bright spot is domestic travel's 3.8% expansion, which kept travel's overall growth afloat.

The TTI is prepared for US Travel by the research firm Oxford Economics.


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