The latest data for arrivals from the top international and overseas source markets for inbound travel to the USA—though incomplete—show that, with a few exceptions, the marketplace is performing about as expected and that the remainder of 2019 could see the industry close out with a year with negative to flat growth.
Those who follow the numbers posted by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office have seen that the UK continues to defy the predictions over the past year that Brexit-related concerns would cause a decline in visitor traffic from the UK to the United States. However, as the tables below indicates, visitation from the UK (Japan, too) registered strong growth for the first half of 2019. Otherwise, there are no real surprises in the figures for the Top 15 Overseas Inbound Source Markets.
More of a disappointment than a surprise is the weak performance of Mexico and Canada. After reviewing the latest numbers on the two countries, David Huether, senior vice president of research for the U.S. Travel Association, said “recently released data from Canada (Statistics Canada) and Mexico (Banco de Mexico) on travel volume to the U.S. through April 2019 was more negative than expected. As a result, our visitation forecasts for Canada (-1.0 percent) and Mexico (-1.9 percent) are negative for 2019.”
What makes even a small contraction in the figures from Canada and Mexico significant is the fact that the two markets generate about half of all international tourism to the USA. But despite their decline so far this year, overall visitation from overseas/long-haul markets was up 2 percent for the first five months of the year.
U.S. Share of Global Long-Haul Market Continues to Shrink: Data from US Travel show a continuation of the shrinking of the U.S. share of the total global long-haul travel market. The decline, which is about a decade old, and is forecast to continue through 2012, is driven primarily by the large increase among citizens of Asian countries whose residents have begun travel in greater numbers. One reason that the decline is likely to continue is that millions of first-time travelers in Asia are expected to continue to enter the market in the years ahead and it’s likely they will first travel to other nations in their global region.