Research: Inbound U.S. Travel Continues Slide; Domestic Up

Travel to and within the United States grew 2.2 percent year over year in November, according to the U.S. Travel Association's latest Travel Trends Index (TTI).

Domestic travel growth in November was steady at 2.4 percent, mostly buoyed by the strength of domestic leisure travel's robust 3.4 percent growth.

International inbound travel continued its decline in November, contracting 0.4 percent. The Leading Travel Index—the TTI's predictive component—holds that this trend will continue with international inbound travel declining 0.6 percent over the next six months compared to the same period in the previous year.

But Congress took an important step toward stemming the decline by renewing the Brand USA marketing agency in the final days of the legislative session, the U.S. Travel Association said.

"The recent slide in U.S. share of the international travel market would have been significantly worse without Brand USA promoting the United States, and Congress signaled a commitment and need for the United States to grow its global market share by renewing Brand USA late in a busy session," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow in a written statement.

Brand USA—which was set to expire this year—was renewed through 2027 via a reauthorization measure included in the broader spending package passed by Congress in late December.

The TTI's findings are in line with U.S. Travel's latest forecast, which projects a 1 percent decline in international visitation to the U.S. when final data is tallied for 2019. While global long-haul travel is projected to grow an average of 4.8 percent annually through 2023, the pace of U.S. growth is projected to be just half of that figure at 2.4 percent; this will further diminish the U.S. share of the total long-haul travel market from its 2015 high of 13.7 percent to just 10.4 percent by 2023.

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