Each month, the U.S. Travel Association sends its members the U.S. Travel Outlook, which provides insight into the current state of the economy and related industry trends, plus other relevant data from the travel and tourism sector.

Here are some of February 2018’s most compelling findings from the U.S. Travel research team. 

How Consumers Felt About the Economy as the New Year Began

Consumer confidence about current conditions and future expectations of the economy improved in January, after declining in December, according to the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was somewhat less rosy, declining slightly—but confidence overall remains historically strong.

A more detailed look at the data shows that consumers were somewhat ambivalent about their income prospects over the coming months, perhaps the result of some uncertainty regarding the impact of the recent tax legislation (businesses, meanwhile, have so far reacted very favorably). Overall, American consumers seem quite confident that the solid pace of economic growth, low unemployment and wage growth seen in late 2017 will continue into 2018.

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More Americans Want to Travel Domestically. Where Are They Looking?

More Americans than ever before are planning domestic trips. The January U.S. Travel Barometer reported that 84 percent of U.S. residents searched for lodging within the U.S. in January—the highest share since nSight began reporting data in mid-2014. This is up from the 2017 average of 76 percent, and up significantly from January of last year, when 74 percent of U.S. residents searched for lodging domestically.

The Southeast region of the U.S. (which includes Florida, Georgia and Louisiana) captured the largest share (34 percent) of domestic searches in January—on par with January of 2017.

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International Travel Searches for U.S. Destinations Decline

America’s share of the global travel market has declined over the last two years, from 13.6 percent in 2015 to 11.9 percent in 2017. The U.S. captured less than 10 percent (9.9 percent) of international searches in January, according to the latest U.S. Travel Barometer. This is down from 12.7 percent in January of last year, and from 2017’s average of 13.7 percent. The U.S. remained behind Spain as the second-most-searched international destination in January.

As far as where international travelers wanted to go in the U.S.: the Far West region (which includes California, Alaska and Hawaii) surpassed the Southeast and Mideast as the top-searched U.S. region in January, capturing 30 percent of international searches.

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A deeper dive into the data available in the February 2018 U.S. Travel Outlook—which includes the latest data on travel employment, transportation, lodging metrics and more—is online here.

U.S. Travel Association members receive the full U.S. Travel Outlook, plus a myriad of other cutting-edge research reports with information relevant to the travel industry. Learn more about the benefits of becoming a member here—or simply continue to enjoy a small taste of U.S. Travel’s research insight each month here, with the Research Round-Up.

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