TRAVEL TO AND in the U.S. continues to grow, up 3.4 percent in May, and consumer confidence is high, according to the U.S. Travel Association’s latest Travel Trends Index. Still, increasing tension over the country’s trade policies may dampen its share of the global travel market, USTA experts said.
May’s expansion marked 101 months of growth, and consumer confidence is contributing to forecasts by USTA’s Leading Travel Index that domestic travel in the U.S. will grow 2.5 percent in the next six months. And USTA Senior Vice President for Research David Huether predicts business travel may outpace leisure travel in leading the domestic market.
“Business travel has been on an upward trajectory in 2018, and this is expected to continue throughout the rest of the year,” Huether said. “This is solid evidence that businesses are optimistic in the current economic environment and are buoyed by the recent tax legislation.”
At the same time, while international inbound travel is expected to grow three percent over the summer through fall, Huether said trade tensions and rising oil prices may cut into the U.S. share of that action. Growth in inbound travel to the U.S. has been modest compared to the rise seen in the global market, and the U.S. remains behind China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom in levels of growth. Travel to the U.S. grew 3.6 percent in April, according to USTA’s Travel Trends Index for that month.
“Amid these positive signs, missed opportunities and storm clouds exist,” he said. ‘We urge officials to foster policies and messaging in the race to be globally competitive.”