While year-over-year travel to and within the United States grew in May, industry watchers are predicting a softening of growth in the coming months.
According to the latest Travel Trends Index from the U.S. Travel Association, year-over-year growth for May was 3.2 percent, which represented the 113th consecutive month of expansion.
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The same report indicates that travel growth will soften through November 2019 with all segments witnessing a slowdown.
International travel, meanwhile, grew just 1.2 percent in May, following three months of wide fluctuations due to the timing of Easter, which has historically been a peak travel time for visitors to the U.S, said the report.
The prediction for the next six months is that international travel growth will slow to just 0.4 percent.
“Headwinds like the strong dollar and lingering trade tensions indicate sluggish growth for international inbound travel, but the much-needed work of the Brand USA destination marketing organization has prevented a further constriction,” U.S. Travel Senior Vice President for Research David Huether said in a statement.
“Political leaders would be wise to act on policies that can help us thrive in spite of these challenging circumstances, such as Brand USA’s long-term reauthorization and the expansion of the Visa Waiver Program.”
The outlook is brighter for domestic travel where demand increased 3.6 percent in May, buoyed by growth in both the business travel and leisure travel segments, according to the TTI.
However, even here there are signs of a downturn looming.
The report points out that weakening consumer spending and business investment are likely to hamstring domestic travel growth over the next six months.
As a result, the current projections for domestic travel growth are that it will expand just 2.0 percent through November, with leisure travel outpacing business travel growth.
Vacation intentions from January through April 2019 registered above 2018 levels over the same period, and forward-looking bookings and searches support predictions of continued, albeit moderate, growth, stated the report.
“Domestic leisure travel has been a source of solid demand for the travel industry over the past several years,” added Huether. “This has been especially important given the impediments to international inbound travel growth.”