International inbound travel to the U.S. is projected to be at 63 percent and 75 percent of its pre-pandemic volume in 2022 and 2023, respectively, according to the U.S. Travel Association’s biannual forecast. At this rate, international travel won’t reach pre-pandemic levels until 2025.
The projected slump is worse than USTA’s June forecast of international travel reaching 67 percent of pre-pandemic 2019 levels and 82 percent in 2023, respectively, reflecting the loss of $8 million more visitors and $28 billion in spending over those two years.
The slow recovery is due to the ongoing delays at U.S. embassies to process visitor visas. First-time visitor visa applicants have to wait over average of 400 days in the top 10 source markets for travel to the United States, and markets such as Brazil, India and Mexico have experienced worsened wait times in recent months, according to the U.S. Travel Association.