Of late, the panelists on Connect Travel’s “Staying Connected” weekly webinars* that focus on what steps DMOs and U.S. travel suppliers are doing to facilitate or plan for a recovery international and overseas travel to the United States, have been telling viewers that a recovery probably won’t come until the third quarter of 2021. This seems to be a consensus view of the sources that INBOUND follows, too.
Meanwhile, the latest monthly data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) on overseas arrivals to the USA don’t offer “ah-ha!” moment when reviewing the numbers. The monthly figures for March, it was thought, might reveal some tangible clue or new insight as to what to expect, as they cover a month that marked the one-year anniversary of the de facto beginning of the shutdown of global travel. It was on March 13, 2020 that U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order prohibiting travel to the United States from most European countries. (Europe produces the largest regional number of overseas visitors to the U.S.)
There are no surprises, unfortunately, in the data below. Indeed, while it might seem surprising to find some comfort in the numbers from South America and, in particular, Colombia, the numbers are still relatively small. And in the case of Colombia, it should be noted that—despite restrictions—it has had an easier time than other nations sending visitors to the U.S. One reason is that Colombia benefits from connecting flights from elsewhere in Central and South America. Also, a flight from Cartagena, Colombia is only about 1,105 miles by air—about the same distance as a flight from Miami to New York City (1,090 miles).