TRAVEL TO AND inside the U.S. grew 3 percent in April over the previous year, according to U.S Travel Association’s latest Travel Trends Index. International travel to the country also saw an increase.
April’s increase included an expected 5.6 percent recovery surge in year-over-year international travel due to the Easter holiday timing. The U.S. Current Travel Index, a measure of the direction and pace of travel in the country, stood at 51.5 for the month.
International inbound travel grew 5.6 percent in April, rallying after two months of contraction. The Leading Travel Index predicts a positive but slower inbound travel growth over the next six months, registering at or just below 1 percent.
Domestic leisure travel grew 3.2 percent while business travel segment stalled. The U.S. travel volume is expected to grow at around 1.8 percent through October 2019 as the six-month LTI reading is registered at 50.9.
Domestic travel is also expected to achieve a 2 percent growth over the same period, while international inbound travels are expected to return to more moderate growth around 0.8 percent.
“Long-haul visitors to the U.S. are solid economic gold, spending more than $4,000 per person, per trip while consuming virtually no public services,” said USTA Senior Vice President for Research David Huether. “Those valuable travelers are taking trips in the strongest numbers ever, but there is more the U.S. should be doing to compete for their business.”
In January Huether suggested long-term reauthorization of Brand USA, a program that promotes travel to the U.S., and the inclusion of more qualified countries in the Visa Waiver Program to improve international visits.