Concern by the US Travel Association grows over negative inbound travel trends

The US Travel Association is expressing alarm over continuing negative trends in inbound travel to the country, and is warning addressing the declines in those statistics needs to become a national priority.


Summary:

  • The US Travel Association expresses alarm over continuing negative trends in inbound travel to the United States of America (USA).
  • According to US government data, international inbound travel to the USA fell 3.9% from Jan-2017 to Jun-2017.
  • Inbound travel from all countries except Mexico and Canada fell 5.7% year-on-year for 1H2017 and travel from Mexico fell 9.4%.

Citing US government data, the association stated international inbound travel fell 3.9% from Jan-2017 to Jun-2017.

“The latest government travel data is deeply concerning not just to our industry, but to anyone who cares about the economic well-being of the United States,” said US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Travel is our country’s number two export and supports more than 15 million American jobs.”

TABLE – Inbound arrivals into the United States of America (USA) were down 3.9% over the first half of 2017 (versus 2016) with Jun-2017 numbers down 6.7% on the same month last yearSource: US Travel Association

Mr Dow stressed the statistics are “an undeniable wake-up call, and correcting this troubling trend needs to become a national priority”.

Inbound travel from all countries except Mexico and Canada fell 5.7% year-on-year for 1H2017 and travel from Mexico fell 9.4%.

US President Donald Trump continues his vow to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, and earlier in 2017 Mexico’s second largest airline Volaris cited some pressure on US leisure routes due to political uncertainty stemming from Mr Trump’s policies.

The US is Volaris’ largest international market, representing nearly 98% of its departing ASKs by country. Overall, demand in Volaris’ international markets remains soft, reflected in the airline’s international load factors falling 5.1ppt to 80.8% for the 9M ending 30-Sep-2017.

CHART – The USA is the main focus of Volaris’ international activities and accounts for almost 98% of its international departing ASKsSource: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG (data: w/c 04-Dec-2017)

Mexico’s largest airline, Aeromexico, recently concluded some of the soft demand in US transborder markets is partially driven by airlines taking advantage of the loosened bilateral between Mexico and the US taking affect in 2016 that eliminated restrictions on the number of airlines serving certain routes between the two countries.

Hotel executives have also recently expressed concern about travel policies of Mr Trump’s administration. Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson has warned business travellers are opting for Canada as negative perception of the US builds.

Previously, the US Travel Association has 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.

Mr Dow, meanwhile, vowed the travel industry “will turn over every stone looking for all available policy options to better promote the US as an international destination, and we stand ready to partner with the federal government to grow travel, and American jobs and exports along with it.”