“By the Numbers” is a periodic look at data on the travel economy from sources outside of the U.S. Travel Association, examining how the numbers align with U.S. Travel’s own research and analysis. This iteration looks at recently released data from Canada and Mexico through April 2019.
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%) and Mexico (-1.9%) are negative for 2019.
Despite our forecast of 1.9% growth in overseas visitations, the declines from Canada and Mexico led to an overall prediction of flat growth (0.2%) in total visitations to the U.S. in 2019.
Canada: After performing well through most of 2018, visitations from Canada to the U.S. were down each month so far (data is available through April) in 2019. On a year-to-date basis, visitations through April are down 5.8% compared to the same period last year.
Mexico: After performing well through most of 2018, visitations from Mexico to the U.S. through April were down 8.9% compared to the same period last year.
Our forecast for both markets expects some recovery over the rest of the year—about 1.5% growth for both Canada and Mexico—but this is still quite slow.
Coupled with the significantly negative data for the first four months, we will likely see an overall decline in visitations from both Canada (-1.0%) and Mexico (-1.9%) for the year.
The numbers can also get worse. The dollar is still the highest since the early 2000s, and other factors—such as uncertainty around international agreements such as the USMCA—may have an additional effect in the remaining months of the year.
Canada and Mexico together account for approximately half of international visitations to the U.S. and about 17% of travel exports.