Overseas Traffic to USA down more than 5 percent in First Five Months of 2017: Released last week with little fanfare—there was no introductory e-mail summary of the information, as in the past—the latest preliminary monthly arrivals data for the first five months of the year by the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) had few encouraging statistical notes—except for an apparent recovery in the market from Canada. There, arrivals increased by 360,000 for the first five months of the year vs. the same period in 2016. Also, arrivals from South Korea were up nearly 20 percent (more than 140,000 visitors) for the same period.
What is Happening? For the data below, compiled by the INBOUND Report, one has to stretch the parameters of logic to find an explanation that is anywhere near positive for these numbers. It could be that the figures will realign themselves once the data from the peak travel months of summer are available. Or, it could be that what we see below reflects a reduction in demand by countries whose currencies are still weak vs. the U.S. dollar. (Note that traffic is up, year-on-year from Canada, which has experienced a strengthening of the Canadian loonie vs. the dollar.) Or, it could be that overall traffic is off by more than two percent vs. 2016 (and the first five months of 2016 were down vs. 2015) because some travelers from key markets are forgoing travel to the USA because of the unpopularity of U.S. President Donald Trump abroad.