Despite some fears to the contrary, international inbound travel to the US posted strong growth in January 2017, according to the US Travel Association’s latest Travel Trends Index (TTI).
But US Travel economists stress that the most recent TTI is based on January data—mostly prior to the executive order on visa policy issued by President Trump on January 27, which is widely anticipated to show an impact on the international travel market. A complete set of data reflecting the post-executive order environment will be available in the April TTI.
In January, international travel grew at a year-over-year rate of 7.8 percent, continuing a months-long streak of unforeseen growth and defying consistent projections of decline for the sector. In fact, the TTI’s Current Travel Index (CTI) score for international travel was the highest measured since May 2014—a remarkable performance, considering a variety of factors weighing on international travel sentiment, such as a consistently strong U.S. dollar.
“International inbound travel is proving to be more resilient than we expected,” said U.S. Travel Association Senior Vice President for Research David Huether. “It will be very interesting to see if that resilience will withstand the negative publicity surrounding the January 27th executive order. It will be just as interesting to see if yesterday’s revised order will have any soothing effect, for which we will see solid data in May.”
The outlook for domestic business travel strengthened, meanwhile, amid a roaring stock market that has bolstered business confidence. The TTI’s Leading Travel Index (LTI) scores for domestic business travel indicate that the sector will likely grow through July 2017, reversing months of stagnation.
The U.S. Travel Association developed the TTI in partnership with Oxford Economics, and draws from multiple data sources to develop these monthly readings. In order to compile both the CTI and LTI readings, the organization’s research team utilizes multiple unique non-personally identifiable data sets, including:
• Advance search and bookings data from ADARA and nSight;
• Passenger enplanement data from Airlines for America (A4A);
• Airline bookings data from the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC); and
• Hotel room demand data from STR.