Although leisure travel growth will probably slow this year, business travel will continue to pick up. This is good news for those who suspect a recession is on the way.
The travel industry recently got some bad news from Tourism Economics: global travel is likely to experience a slowdown in growth this year.
The outlook for domestic U.S. travel, though, remains more positive.
The latest Travel Trends Index from The U.S. Travel Association shows that travel growth will likely slow over 2019, with domestic business travel growth picking up pace.
The group has been providing the index for a full year, and while demand rose in December 2018, its rate of growth is expected to shrink over the next six months. Domestic travel is expected to increase by 2.6 percent year-over-year in June 2019, but leisure travel overall is expected to grow just 2.2 percent. International travel, both leisure and business, will fall to 2 percent growth.
Total growth through the first half of the year is projected to reach 2.4 percent.
“With all 12 months’ data now in, the Travel Trends Index shows that, travel to and within the U.S. grew faster in 2018 than in 2017,” said David Huether, senior vice president of research at U.S. Travel. “While international and domestic leisure growth was steady, the most impressive news is that business travel had its best year since 2010.”
Domestic leisure growth has outstripped business travel growth since June 2018, but the outlook for business travel is brighter going forward. While the U.S. travel sector is about to reach its tenth straight year of expansion, the rate of growth is dwindling. Domestic travel will help growth continue barring any new economic issues that crop up.
The wider problem is a high dollar tempering international inbound travel and high domestic gas prices limiting consumers from driving to another city for a vacation. And, of course, the fear of visa issues from those visiting from abroad. If U.S. wages continue to rise, though, consumers will become more likely to travel.
“A projected global economic cooling and persistent trade tensions will continue to threaten international inbound travel growth,” said Huether. “The expected softening of the dollar and the de-escalation of the U.S.-China trade conflict should be positives for the international segment, but the market will not be able to fully capitalize on those advantages without some help.”
Check out the full report below.
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Photo credit: The city’s tourism bureau, Destination DC, announced Tuesday, May 3, 2016, that the nation’s capital welcomed 19.3 million domestic visitors in 2015. Andrew Harnik / Associated Press