Negative travel trends for the US continue to raise alarm 

29 January, 2018

Concern continues to grow around international travel to the US as the latest data point to a decline in spend by international travellers to the country during 2017.

Citing statistics compiled by the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic analysis, the US Travel Association stated international travellers to the US spent 3.3% less year-on-year through Nov-2017.

The drop “translates to losses of USD4.6 billion spend in the US economy and 40,000 jobs”, the Association stated. “Overall, the US travel industry supports 14.3 million jobs”.

“For our country to have any hope of closing the trade gap, international inbound travel must perform, simple as that,” warned Association CEO Roger Dow. “After almost a decade and a half of relatively sustained post-9/11 recovery, since 2015 there’s been evidence that the country has gotten complacent with the policies needed to support this vital economic engine and job creator.”

The statistics on international traveller spend to the US are the latest in series of alarming trends. Earlier in 2017, the US Travel Association stated international inbound travel fell 3.9% year-on-year from Jan-Jun-2017. The Association has also previously stated its Leading Travel Index (LTI) continues to project a tepid outlook for international inbound travel, which will trail the domestic market through the beginning of 2018.

Although the decline in international travel began before Donald Trump assumed the US Presidency, the policies of his administration, including efforts to institute various iterations of travel bans, have spurred some negative perception of the US. Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson has warned business travellers are opting for Canada as negative perception of the US builds. Earlier this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr Sorenson remarked that the US is “less welcoming today”, according to news outlet Bloomberg.

The US Travel Association is a member of the recently-launched Visit US Coalition, whose goal is to partner with the Trump Administration to address the decline in international visitors to the US. The coalition has representation from a cross section of various industries.

“Flourishing international travel is vital to President Trump’s economic goal of sustained three percent GDP growth, and the Visit U.S. coalition is being founded for the express purpose of helping him achieve it,” Mr Dow concluded.