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 2020’s most compelling findings from the U.S. Travel research team. 

U.S. Welcomed 79.3 Million International Visitors in 2019

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office released international inbound visitation statistics for 2019, which includes total international arrivals as well as arrivals from Canada, Mexico and overseas.

In 2019:

  • Total international arrivals to the U.S. declined 0.6% to 79.3 million following a 3.3% increase in 2018.
  • Arrivals from Canada declined 3.5% following a 4.8% increase in 2018
  • Arrivals from Mexico declined 1.3% following a 3.4% increase in 2018.
  • Arrivals from overseas increased 1.3% following a 2.5% increase in 2018.

International inbound travel to the U.S. is expected to plummet 6.0% over the next three months due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the U.S. Travel Association’s most recent Travel Trends Index (TTI) report. The predicted 6.0% drop is the sharpest in the five-year history of the TTI, and would be the largest decline in international inbound travel since the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

Lodging Industry Starts the Year Strong, but Trouble Could Be on the Horizon

The lodging industry kicked off 2020 on a high note, with records across all three performance metrics:

  • Lodging occupancy increased 0.8% to 55.1%
  • Average daily rate increased 1.4% to $126.06
  • And revenue per available room increased 2.2% to $69.47

However, Jan Freitag, STR’s senior vice president of lodging insights, cautions that the coronavirus could affect the lodging industry.

“To this point into February weekly data, there has not been a noticeable impact, but that is expected to change at some point amid a significant drop in Chinese arrivals, especially in gateway cities,” said Freitag.

Consumer Confidence on the Rise

Bolstered by a strong labor market (225,000+ jobs in January), consumer confidence started the year by rising to five-month high.

According to Bloomberg, the consumer confidence surge is primarily due to, “more positive assessments of the current job market as well as greater optimism about future employment prospects, underscoring how the lowest unemployment in a half century is keeping Americans upbeat and likely more inclined to keep their wallets open.”

While optimistic about the future, consumers have been a bit more reserved in their spending in December and January; December consumer spending increased just 0.3% month over month to end 2019.


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A deeper dive into the data and insights available in the February 2020 U.S. Travel Outlook—which includes the latest economic, consumer, business and travel industry data—is online here.

U.S. Travel Association members receive the full U.S. Travel Outlook, plus a myriad of other cutting-edge data and insights 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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