Tour and travel industry professionals from throughout the world will be gathering beginning May 19 in Denver and departing following the close of business at IPW on May 23rd. In between, the 6,200-plus delegates who gather to do business at the world’s most important venue for conducting Visit USA business.
By then, we should have a fairly good idea on the state of business and on the outlook for business in 2019. Based on some straws in the wind, along with a reliable statistical measure of current activity, it seems safe to say that the market is bouncing back from the sluggish years of 2016 and 2017.
In additional to upbeat anecdotal accounts reaching the INBOUND Report in the past several weeks, there are these:
—At an industry gathering last week in the UK—it is the number one overseas source market for U.S. inbound tourism—Deloitte’s global head of travel and aviation, said that, despite the fact that leisure spending in the country is dwindling, told “consumer confidence remains high … but consumers still want to go on holiday.”
—In Germany, which is the number two overseas source market from Europe, a series of trade surveys, travel agencies have reported improved booking numbers for the first several months of the year, topped off by a report last month that bookings were eight percent higher than in April 2017.As a result, travel agency bookings are an average 6.2 percent higher in the half-year balance of the tourism year 2017/18 than they were in the previous year. Morever, DER Touristik which claims to be the largest long-haul operator in Germany, is predicting a good year for the USA, with holiday prices 10 percent cheaper than they were last year, thanks to a stronger euro.
—At NAJ’s Active America China Summit held several weeks earlier in Atlanta, business meeting activity was intense and demand was high, with Chinese operators working with U.S. travel suppliers on product designed to appeal to FIT travelers and to second-tier Chinese markets.
—And, finally, this: International inbound travel spiked in March, registering 55.5, the highest level since April 2014 (due in part to the timing of Easter this year). The Leading Travel Index (LTI)* continues to project an upbeat outlook in inbound travel, which has the potential to surpass growth in the domestic market over the next six months.
*The Oxford/U.S. Travel Leading Travel Index (LTI) is an indicator of the future direction and pace of travel volume to and within the U.S. over the coming three and six months compared to the same period in the prior year. The LTIs represent average readings over the next three and six months. The LTI econometric model is based on data sets that have demonstrated to predict near-term future travel: online travel searches and bookings for future travel, consumer travel intentions data, and economic fundamentals. A score above 50 indicates expansion. A score below 50 indicates decline.
*The Oxford/U.S. Travel Current Travel Index (CTI) measures the direction and pace of travel volume to and within the U.S. on a monthly basis compared to the same month in the prior year. The index is comprised of a weighting of hotel room demand and air passenger enplanements that represents the overall volume of travelers each month. A score above 50 indicates expansion. A score below 50 indicates decline.
REMINDER: INBOUND will not publish next week, as we will be a part of IPW #50 in Denver, Colorado. We resume publication with the May 30 edition of INBOUND.