SEPTEMBER WAS ANOTHER good month for travel to and within the U.S., according to the U.S. Travel Association’s latest travel index. However, USTA experts are cautioning against optimism at this time, saying the travel industry may see a leveling off in the near future.
Trips to and in the U.S. grew 1.6 percent in September over the same time last year, according to USTA’s index. That marked the 105th consecutive month of expansion.
But that positive trend may come to an end soon due to a plateauing of domestic business travel and an anticipated decline in international tourism. Business travel had grown faster than leisure in August, but leisure supported travel rates in September while growing at a slower rate of 1.8 percent.
And while international arrivals to the U.S. grew 4.4 percent over the same time last year, that number is inflated by the fact that international arrivals dropped 2.2 percent in September 2017, according to USTA. And its international Leading Travel Index is forecasting no more growth for the next six months.
“We’re seeing something of a perfect storm of factors that could suppress international demand for travel to the U.S.,” said USTA Senior Vice President for Research David Huether. “The U.S. dollar has been on another very robust strengthening trend since April of this year, while the global economy has been cooling off considerably overall. That, coupled with political uncertainty in Europe and rising trade tensions, is a bad-news recipe for inbound travel.”
USTA predicted in September that the industry’s growth would slow over the last half of 2018.