Latest US Travel Trends Index shows a slowing pace of growth

Growth in US domestic and international travel slowed between Jun-2018 and Jul-2018, and projections show the decelerated growth will continue for the next six months. Travel to and within the US increased 3% year-on-year in Jul-2018, which was a decline from the 4% growth posted in Jun-2018, according to data from the US Travel Association.


Summary:

  • Growth in US domestic and international travel slowed between Jun-2018 and Jul-2018, according to latest insights from the US Travel Association;
  • It forecasts this trend will continue for the next six months as domestic and international travel will still register gains, but at a slower rate;
  • Through Jan-2019, the US Travel Association’s Leading Travel Indicator (LTI) projects that international travel will grow at a rate of 1.6%;
  • A projected 2.4% domestic growth through to Jan-2019 is underpinned by steady job gains and firming wage growth, the association stated.

This trend will continue for the next six months, as domestic and international travel will still register gains, but at a slower rate than in the previous six months, forecasts the association. Going forward, its Leading Travel Indicator (LTI), is registering at 51.2, which indicates US travel volume will grow at a rate of 2.4% through Jan-2019. Domestic growth is forecast at 2.4%, driven by business travel. International travel is projected to grow at a slower pace of 1.6%.

The projected domestic growth is underpinned by steady job gains and firming wage growth, the association stated. Domestic business travel has gained momentum in recent months, and the LTI points to continued positive trends, but the forecast warns “rising labour costs may weigh on corporate profits”.

Even as inbound international has slowed, projections remain positive through the start of 2019, but now familiar issues are driving a certain level of caution: trade tension, slowing global economic momentum and negative perceptions abroad of President Trump’s rhetoric.

“While international inbound travel is growing, it continues to underperform the earlier years of the current economic expansion,” says David Huether, senior vice president for research at the US Travel Association.

The TTI is prepared for the US Travel Association by the research firm Oxford Economics. The TTI is based on public and private sector source data which are subject to revision by the source agency. The TTI draws from: advance search and bookings data from ADARA and nSight; airline bookings data from the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC); IATA, OAG and other tabulations of international inbound travel to the US; and hotel room demand data from STR.