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The U.S.’ four-year slide in global market share of international travel shows no signs of abating, according to forecast figures from U.S. Travel, a non-profit organization that represents the travel industry.
From a peak of 13.7 percent in 2015, market share was 11.7 percent in 2018. U.S. Travel forecasts that the number will dip below 11 percent in 2022, a decline it described as “steep and steady.” If current trends continue, the estimated cost to the U.S. economy by 2022 will be a loss of 41 million visitors, $180 billion in international traveler spending, and 266,000 jobs.
Reasons for the decline are said to be varied: a historically strong dollar, stiff global competition from other destinations, and ongoing trade tensions. Though U.S. Travel did not name the current administration as a contributing factor, it’s previously been said that Trump’s harsh anti-visitor and immigrant rhetoric is not a helpful message when it comes to boosting the nation’s market share. Not to mention changes in visa policies which travelers may be less than thrilled about.
“Most Americans believe the U.S. should be the world leader in everything—and with all the incredible things you can see and do in every corner of this country, that is especially true of international tourism,” U.S. Travel’s Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Barnes said in a statement. “But reclaiming our market share is not just a matter of pride—it is economically vital, and can help sustain our GDP expansion when we’re seeing some other headwinds on the horizon. Recapturing our market share should, by all rights, be a national priority.”
U.S. Travel is currently on a strong lobbying campaign to get Brand USA, the nation’s marketing arm, renewed by Congress before its funding expires in 2020.