The decline in the U.S. share of the lucrative international travel market has been steep and steady and the U.S. Travel Association has determined that it will continue through at least 2022.
The association’s latest forecast suggests that the U.S. global long-haul travel market share is on a four-year slide since its previous high of 13.7 percent in 2015, falling to 11.7 percent in 2018. These numbers represent a major blow to the economy. U.S. Travel research shows that that means the loss of 14 million international visitors, $59 billion in international traveler spending, and 120,000 U.S. jobs.
Forecasts now indicate that market share will dip below 11 percent in 2022, meaning an even bigger hit to the economy with a loss of 41 million visitors, $180 billion in international traveler spending and 266,000 jobs.
“Everyone is wondering how much longer the U.S. economic expansion can go on, and shoring up our international travel market share would be a great way to help it continue,” said U.S. Travel Association executive vice president of public affairs and policy Tori Barnes. “There are some tools in the policy toolbox that will help fix it, and we’re not talking about huge taxpayer-funded spending outlays. Passing legislation to renew Brand USA is the most immediate move to help correct this problem, and we hope this shows Congress the urgency of getting that done this year.”
Several factors have led to the gloomy outlook, including the strength of the dollar, ongoing trade tensions and stiff competition from rivals for international tourism dollars.
This means it is ever more important for bills that will renew Brand USA, an organization tasked with promoting travel to the U.S. globally, pass the House and the Senate.
Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced legislation to enact Brand USA’s long-term reauthorization, extending the organization’s funding mechanism—currently set to expire next year—through 2027.
Reauthorizing Brand USA is a win-win for the U.S. as the organization operates at no cost to taxpayers—it is funded by a small fee on certain international visitors to the U.S., plus contributions from the private sector. Meanwhile, Brand USA’s work generates an overall return on investment of 25 to 1.
Brand USA has been a big success in drawing international visitors. The organization’s work brought in 6.6 million incremental international visitors to the U.S. between 2013 and 2018, at a return-on-investment of $28 in visitor spending for every $1 the agency spent on marketing.
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