Sluggish demand for overseas travel to the U.S. will sustain the trend of the country falling behind international travel growth worldwide, according to the latest forecast released by the U.S. Travel Association.
While global long-haul travel is projected to grow an average of 4.8% annually through 2023, the pace of U.S. growth is projected to be just half of that figure—2.4%.
That gap will further diminish the U.S. share of the total long-haul travel market to 10.4% by 2023—continuing the steady slide from its previous high of 13.7% in 2015.
The 2019-2023 decline in market share would translate to a loss to the U.S. economy of a further $78 billion in visitor spending and 130,000 American jobs. As a result of the decline since the 2015 high, the economy has already lost $59 billion and 120,000 jobs through 2018.
“International inbound travel is the No. 2 U.S. export, and making its pace of growth a national priority could be a difference-maker in helping to keep the country out of a recession,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Right now, the country is not capturing the full economic potential of overseas travel, but there are some turnkey policy solutions that could help to address that—starting with congressional re-authorization of the Brand USA tourism marketing organization.”
As noted this week in the Wall Street Journal, the crucial U.S. services export sector—led by travel—faces significant headwinds in the current global economic environment.
Equally worrisome is projected soft growth in the normally strong domestic travel market, which the U.S. Travel report forecasts will increase by just 1.4% in 2020, the slowest pace in four years—further stoking fears of an economic slowdown and underscoring the importance of bolstering the international side.
Supported by a unique funding model that doesn’t cost U.S. taxpayers a dime, Brand USA is crucial program for ensuring the U.S. remains competitive in the race for international tourism dollars and their resulting economic benefits—with its international rivals relying on robust, taxpayer-funded tourism ministries. The agency will expire next year without immediate action by Congress.
Brand USA’s marketing efforts over the past six years have brought 6.6 million incremental visitors to the U.S., generating $47.7 billion in economic impact and supporting nearly 52,000 American jobs annually.