“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 the release of a new six-year forecast from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) recently released a new forecast of international travelers to the United States, which estimates that after increasing 3.4% in 2018, overall international arrivals to the U.S. will decline by 1% in 2019 and then increase at a moderate pace over the next five years. The expected 2019 decline is due to decreases in visitation from both Canada and Mexico this year, more than offsetting a moderate increase in visitation from overseas.
NTTO’s new estimate for inbound travel this year is more pessimistic than U.S. Travel’s July forecast, which expected overall international visitations to edge up 0.2% in 2019; the discrepancy is relative to the more recent data employed by the NTTO in its October forecast. NTTO’s outlook for the trajectory of inbound visitation over the next several years is also slightly more bearish than U.S. Travel’s July forecast.
U.S. Travel will release a revised travel forecast in the coming weeks that covers travel both to and within the U.S., which will incorporate the NTTO’s new international inbound forecast data.