If one looks at the volume of German arrivals to the USA with a longer perspective than that of two or three years, one will see that the market, with zig-zag annual totals going up and down, back to 1996—this is when Germany sent almost 2 million visitors to the United States—it shows that the market is basically the same as it was for 20 years. Last year, 20 years after 1996, the number of German travelers who came to the U.S. totaled 2,037,000—a 1.9 percent increase after two decades. To help put this increase in perspective, we’ve prepared the following table.
At ITB last week in Berlin, the German travel trade publication FVW released its Destination Ranking 2018, which gives a region-by-region and major country destination analysis that covers the world. Here are some highlights from its section on North America:
- (There is a) slowdown in the slump of German visitor numbers to the USA. The German market appears relatively stable. Based on the (NTTO) figures up to August, a slight drop to about two million guests appears likely for 2017.This would still be the fourth-best result ever, though.
- Recall that, after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the economic and financial crises, it took more than a decade to beat the former records from the end of 1990s. In 2014, the two million visitor barrier was broken for the first time; and in 2015 anew record was set with nearly 2.3million German visitors. Under the effects of the weak euro, which made travel spending in the USA significantly more expensive, there was even a double-digit (-10.4 per cent) fall in2016.
- With only a slight decline in 2017, an end of the downturn therefore looks in sight. In addition, the exchange rate situation has calmed down. In the first quarter, the euro has risen significantly to over$1.20.³ This will also have an effect on tour operator package prices in the medium-term. They are relatively relaxed about the situation and expect for 2018 at least a stable year for the USA.
- In comparison with other source markets, Germany–which, by the way, has the highest proportion of business travelers among visitor numbers at 24per cent –has performed relatively well. Among the top ten source markets for the USA, only Canada, South Korea and France have reported growth; all others are showing declines, and quite substantial in some cases. Echoing what the INBOUND Report has suggested, Overall, the USA is therefore likely to close 2017 with another decline, after the slight fall in the previous year, and drop significantly below the level of 75 million visitors.
- The consequences of the downturn are serious. In the USA as a whole, tourism industry revenues declined by as much as 3.3 percent to $4.6 billion up to the end of November.
³ INBOUND checked and found that from the first day of ITB 2017 to the first day of ITB 2018, the Euro went from a value of $1.05 to $1.24, an increase of 18 percent.