The US Travel Association is sounding the alarm that the world is fed up with a confrontational President and tariffs and this is translating into a big hit for the American tourism industry. In their most recent U.S. Travel Forecast they have predicted that the United States will continue to slide in importance and popularity for international travelers until at least 2022. Trade wars = travel blues in case no one has noticed.
Aside from the shrinking U.S. presence in the world, industry observes also say a global perception of danger and mass shootings in the US and a palpable worldwide decline in U.S. favourability perceptions have all contributed to the slide in foreign travelers to the United States. World travelers have lots of choices and so would rather pick a destination which they hold in high regard, feel they’ll be welcomed and safe in, and where they want to spend dollars. Many international travelers don’t want to support the United States’ given its current anti-immigrant, anti-foreigner messaging.
The U.S. global long-haul travel market share is on a four-year slide since its previous high of 13.7% in 2015, falling to 11.7% in 2018. The decline in market share represents losses to the U.S. economy of 14 million international visitors, $59 billion in international traveler spending, and 120,000 U.S. jobs.
Unfortunately for the millions of Americans who rely on travel and tourism this market-share drop is only forecast to continue, dipping under 11% in 2022. This would mean a further economic hit of 41 million visitors, $180 billion in international traveler spending and 266,000 jobs. Clearly America First isn’t compatible with attracting lucrative global business and leisure travelers.
“Everyone is wondering how much longer the U.S. economic expansion can go on, and shoring up our international travel market share would be a great way to help it continue,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Barnes.
However for the time being, global travelers are avoiding the United States. As one industry veteran said, “Trade wars = travel blues.” Good advice which Washington may want to consider.