International travel to US on the rise
The number of visitors that came to the United States grew in May for the 13th straight month in a row, according to a new report.
The U.S. Travel Association announced Wednesday that international travel to the country rose by 5.2 percent in May, compared to the same month in 2016.
The monthly travel index, which was developed in conjunction with Oxford Economics, comes amid increasing concern that the Trump administration’s efforts to crack down on immigration may hurt tourism and travel to the U.S.
President Trump issued a temporary travel ban targeting six majority-Muslim countries that partially went into effect last week, while the Department of Homeland Security rolled out new aviation security measures this year that included a laptop ban for certain airports.
The travel industry, which has urged the White House to abandon its proposal to eliminate a marketing program aimed at boosting U.S. tourism, attributed part of the travel uptick to “tourism marketing efforts.”
“There is widespread talk of daunting challenges to the U.S. travel market — perception of the country abroad is mentioned most, but the strong dollar and slowing global economy are factors as well — yet the resilience of our sector continues to astound,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.
“Tourism marketing efforts at the federal, state and local level undoubtedly deserve a large measure of credit, and policymakers need to be aware of the large dividends these programs are paying for economic activity, jobs and tax revenues.”
But even though domestic and international travel both remain strong, the index projects that that there will be a slowdown later this year.
The six-month forecast predicts that U.S. travel volume will likely grow around 1.8 percent through November 2017, with domestic travel rising by about 2.2 percent and international travel slightly declining.
“There remains the possibility of unintended consequences from President Trump’s policies related to immigration and international relations,” the report says. “Looking ahead, these factors are expected to negatively impact international inbound travel.”
Within the domestic market, the index found that leisure visits lead the travel group. The report noted that business travel growth also rebounded following a “lackluster performance” in April, which was attributed to the timing of Easter and Passover this year.