Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


International Tourism Hit 84% of Pre-Pandemic Level

1 week ago

International tourism reached 84% of its pre-pandemic level between January and July 2023, according to the UN World Tourism Organization. Around 700 million tourists traveled internationally.

The Middle East had the strongest international tourism demand among all regions, having exceeded 20% above its pre-pandemic level between January and July. 

Other regions have not exceeded their pre-pandemic level. Europe hit 91% thanks to strong intra-regional demand and travel from the U.S., according to UN WTO. Africa reached 92% and the Americas reached 87%.

Asia-Pacific was far behind other regions in its recovery, having reached 61%. Many destinations and source markets in the region like China weren’t open for travel until the end of 2022 or earlier this year. 

UNWTO expects pent-up demand and increased air connectivity in Asia-Pacific will bring international tourism to 80% to 95% of its pre-pandemic level by the end of 2023.

The challenging economic environment could slow the recovery. UNWTO pointed to persisting inflation and rising oil prices leading to higher transport and accommodation costs for tourists.


Americans Traveling Abroad Rose 20% in June

2 weeks ago

Over 10 million Americans traveled abroad in June, a 20% rise from the same period last year, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office’s latest data. June’s volume was 99% of its 2019 pre-pandemic level.

The second largest overseas market — Mexico was number one — for Americans traveling abroad in June was Europe at 2.7 million, up 19.3% from last year. Europe accounted for 26% of American trips abroad in June.

The number of International travelers to the U.S. rose 24% to 2.6 million from June last year. Compared to the pre-pandemic period, June international volume was at 79% of its 2019 level. The largest overseas tourist markets for the U.S. were the UK (276,000), India (172,400) and Germany (132,000).


Brazil to Require Visas for American Tourists in 2024

3 weeks ago

Brazil will mandate visitors from the U.S., Australia and Canada obtain an e-visa prior to entering the country starting January 10, 2024, according to Embratur, Brazil tourism’s board.

The visa requirement was initially going to take effect on October 1 this year, but the government has postponed it to next year.

Since 2019, Brazil had waived its visa requirement for nationals from U.S., Australia, Canada and Japan . Nationals from those countries had been allowed to stay in the country for up to 90 days with the possibility of extensions of up to 180 days. The visa waiver will last until January 10, according to Embratur.

Visas will be issued electronically. The Brazilian government is currently developing the procedure. Once done, the details for the process will be provided by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The policy reinstatement is a retaliation toward countries that have not waived their visa rules for Brazilian nationals. The Brazilian government has been pressing U.S., Australia, Canada and Japan to reciprocate and waive its visa requirements.

Brazil has only reached an agreement with Japan to have reciprocal exemption, which will take effect on September 30, 2023. Not only will Japanese tourists continue be allowed to Brazil without a visa, Brazilian tourists will be allowed to Japan visa-free.


International Traveler Spending in the U.S. Is Down by $1.5 Billion from Pre-Pandemic Level

3 weeks ago

International travelers spent $18 billion on travel to, and within the U.S. in July., down by $1.5 billion from its pre-pandemic level, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office’s latest data. Spending on strictly goods and services like recreation, lodging and food totaled $9.7 billion in July 2023.

Between January and July, international travelers spent more than $118.5 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services, up nearly 24% from the same period in 2022. On average, international travelers spent more than $559 million per day this year so far.

Americans traveling abroad spending continued to exceed past its pre-pandemic level. In July, they spent over $17.2 billion, up from $14.9 billion for the same period in 2019. In June, Americans also spent more than they did while traveling internationally before the pandemic.


Brand USA CEO Chris Thompson to Step Down

2 months ago

Chris Thompson will step down as president and CEO of Brand USA, effective May 31, 2024. Brand USA is the U.S. ‘s destination marketing organization. Brand USA’s board of directors will work with an executive search firm to find a successor.

Thompson is retiring after more than 30 years in the industry. He has served as president and CEO of Brand USA since 2012. Prior to joining Brand USA, he was president and CEO of Visit Florida.

“It has been an incredible privilege to serve as President and CEO of Brand USA,” said Thompson. “I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together, and I am confident that the organization will continue to thrive under new leadership.”


International Traveler Spending in the U.S. Rose Over 49 Percent to $16.8 Billion in March

5 months ago

International inbound travelers spent nearly $16.8 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the U.S. in March, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office, up more than 49 percent year over year.

International traveler purchases of food, entertainment, gifts and other travel and tourism-related goods and services totaled $9.7 billion in March 2023, up nearly 77 percent year over year.

Americans traveling abroad spent a record $17.4 billion. Last month, Americans also spent a record $17.4 billion traveling abroad.

For the month of March, the U.S. experienced a travel trade deficit of $572 million. Out of seven of the last eleven months, the U.S. has run a travel trade deficit, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. Prior to July 2021, the U.S. never recorded a monthly travel trade deficit.  

To date this year, international travelers have spent nearly $49.1 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services, up 61 percent year over year. International visitors have injected, on average, more than $545 million a day into the U.S. economy year to date.


U.S.’s National Travel and Tourism Office Names New Director

5 months ago

The National Travel and Tourism Office has named Brian Beall as its next director. Starting May 8, Beall will lead the department toward enhancing the international competitiveness of the U.S. travel and tourism industry and increase U.S. travel and tourism exports. He is rejoining the department after spending nearly four years in the private sector as Cruise Lines International Association’s vice president of government affairs.

The National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) is in the International Trade Administration’s Industry and Analysis division in the U.S. Department of Commerce. A major objective of the U.S. Department of Commerce is to attract 90 million international visitors by 2027.

During his time at NTTO, Beall was Deputy Director for Policy and Planning from 2014 to 2019.  He has also served a variety of roles at the International Trade Administration, including Senior Advisor to the Deputy Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service and Senior International Trade Specialist in the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade.


U.S. to Lift Vaccine Requirement for International Inbound Travelers

5 months ago

The Biden Administration announced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid vaccine requirement for inbound international air travelers to the U.S. will end on May 11. The administration will also remove the requirement for federal employees and contractors.

The U.S. Travel Association applauded the requirement’s repeal. “Today’s action to lift the vaccine requirement eases a significant entry barrier for many global travelers, moving our industry and country forward,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Geoff Freeman, referring to the May 1 announcement.

The vaccine requirements were put in place to slow the spread of Covid and allow the U.S. healthcare system time to manage care if faced with rising cases and hospitalizations. The Biden Administration cited the decline in Covid cases, hospitalizations and vaccinations as a reason for the repeal.

The removal will likely lead to an increase in international travelers. U.S. Travel called on the government to be prepared. “The federal government must ensure U.S. airports and other ports of entry are appropriately staffed with Customs and Border Protection officers to meet the growing demand for entry,” Freeman said.


International Travel Volume to the U.S. Rose 93 Percent to Over 4 Million in January

5 months ago

Total inbound International visitation to the U.S. amounted 4.8 million in January, up 93 percent year over year and about 82 percent of January 2019’s volume, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office’s latest data. This was the twenty-second consecutive month that international visitor volume grew year over year.

Canada, Mexico, the UK, South Korea and Brazil were January’s top source markets and they accounted for around 70 percent of pre-pandemic January 2019’s visitor volume. Overseas volume, i.e. not from Canada and Mexico, amounted to 1.9 million, up 91 percent year over year.

Total outbound travel from the U.S. amounted to 6.4 million, up 60 percent year over year and representing 99 percent of pre-pandemic January 2019’s volume. Mexico and Canada combined made up 54 percent of U.S. visitor departures, while overseas made up 46 percent. Mexico was the top outbound market, followed by the Caribbean.


Europeans Travelers Opting for Early Summer Trips: European Travel Commission

6 months ago

Most European travelers plan to take spring and early summer in the next months, according to a European Travel Commission survey. Around 40 percent will travel in June or July, while only 23 percent expect to travel in August and September, down 9 percent year over year. In April and May, almost 30 percent will take or took a trip.

The commission surveyed 6,000 Europeans in March who took at least 2 overnight trips during the last three years.

Between April and September, 72 percent of Europeans plan to travel, down 5 percent year over year.  Nearly three-quarters of Europeans over the age of 25 will travel in this period, while 61 percent of those under 25 years old plan to take a trip in this period. 

Europeans are hungry to travel in the next six months. By September, 60 percent will take multiple trips. Solo travelers are leading the trend with 34 percent planning at least trips, up 8 percent year over year.

Traveling within Europe is the top choice. Only 11 percent have trips planned for outside the region, while 58 percent will go to a neighboring country or a non-neighboring one.

Nearly half of travelers won’t change their trip budget in the next six months. Almost 20 percent will spend more. Those planning to spend more than 1,500 euros has risen by 7 percent year over year to 37 percent. 

The older traveler segment will spend more and take longer trips compared to other demographic groups.  Over half of travelers over the age of 54 will take trips that are at least 7 nights long and have budgets over 1,500 euros.

In the face of inflation and rising travel costs, travelers will cut back spending at their destinations.  About 17 percent will cut shopping expenses, 16 percent will choose less expensive accommodation and 15 percent will choose less expensive restaurants.

Europeans are also booking early to avoid higher prices. In fact, 52 percent of Europeans have already fully or partially booked their next trip, up 8 percent from 2022.




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