Overall travel to and within the United States grew 3 percent in April, including an expected 5.6-percent recovery jump in year-over-year international travel due to the timing of the Easter holiday, according to recently released research from the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Trends Index.
However, the index shows that the one-month international figure is not indicative of a larger trend, and growth of the inbound market will slow to 0.8 percent through October. Researchers noted that this data can lead to concerns that the U.S. continues to miss out on robust growth of the lucrative and competitive global travel market. Long-haul arrivals to the U.S. grew at half the pace of the international market worldwide in 2018 at 3.5 percent versus 7 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 David Huether, senior VP for research at the U.S. Travel Association. “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.”
He pointed to existing proposals such as implementation of biometrics, expansion of the Visa Waiver Program and Customs preclearance, and renewing the Brand USA marketing organization to help reverse the trend.