Good New/Bad News: The good news is that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel & Tourism Office has been turning over its counts of visitor arrivals from key overseas markets so quickly that some data are now posted just weeks after the month previous—as in the case of numbers for the month of March and the First Quarter of 2020.
The bad news is, well, bad news. And it’s all bad news. In the reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic that is freezing much international travel in place—almost all international air carriers have reduced capacity on key routes by 90-95 percent since the beginning of March—so that the year-over-year change is awash in red ink.
Most dramatic, as well as the largest year-on-year decline in passenger traffic to the United States, is the total from China for March—down more than 94 percent. One need not engage in analytics here. You need only to look at the NTTO numbers for March and the first quarter of the year; they speak for themselves.