Travel to and within the U.S. grew 3.6 percent year-over-year in April, according to the U.S. Travel Association’s latest Travel Trends Index (TTI)—marking the industry’s 100th straight month of overall expansion. Though the raw numbers are in positive territory, the U.S. continues to trail other global travel heavyweights in capturing share of the booming international travel market.
The most noteworthy component of the April TTI was domestic business travel, which grew for a fourth consecutive month—the first four-month win streak for that segment since January-April 2015. Forward-looking bookings and searches for business travel appear to be on an upswing as well, leading to a strong business Leading Travel Index (LTI)—the forecasting portion of TTI.
“While travel overall is relatively healthy, particularly domestic business travel, the U.S. travel industry continues to register concern over a declining share of the global travel market,” said U.S. Travel Senior Vice President for Research David Huether. “Business confidence was soft earlier in the economic recovery, but now we’re seeing a resurgence that is attributable in part to the recent tax cuts and a more favorable regulatory environment.”
Domestic travel overall is anticipated to increase by an average of 2.4 percent year-over-year through October 2018, and international travel is expected to rise three percent in the same period. But U.S. Travel economists warn that headwinds may lie ahead in the form of rising oil prices and increased trade tensions. They also note that the growth of international inbound travel to the U.S. is being outstripped by the growth of long-haul travel globally. The U.S. is falling behind markets like Germany, France, China and the United Kingdom, whose share of the global travel market continues to increase.
The TTI is prepared for U.S. Travel 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 U.S.; and hotel room demand data from STR.