“The focus of this election season has been how to put Americans back to work, and our industry is uniquely capable of adapting to economic upswings and creating jobs,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Given our industry’s immense potential not only nationally, but also for local and state economies, we call on the Administration and Members of Congress to build a plan for economic recovery that drives significant increases in travel.”
Domestic leisure travel is expected to increase 1.2 percent in 2013, a new record high, but the growth will be at a slower pace than during the past few years. While business travel volume will slow significantly next year to less than one percent, the number of business trips has grown steadily since the downturn in 2009 and is expected to see more positive growth in 2014. Total domestic travel spending, including leisure and business travel, will increase three percent.
“While the growth rate is more moderate than in previous years, leisure travel remains at an all-time high and is an indicator of rising consumer confidence,” said David Huether, senior vice president of research and economics for the U.S. Travel Association. “Businesses continue to have a heightened focus on the value and bottom-line benefits of travel. We feel the slight increase in business travel next year continues to reflect demand for face-to-face meetings that drive growth and productivity.”
Total international inbound travel will increase four percent in 2013 while spending will grow 7.1 percent. The importance of global travel to the American economy continues to increase with international travelers now accounting for 15.1 percent of total travel spending in the U.S., up from 14.3 percent in 2011.
Overseas travel to the U.S. (excluding Canada and Mexico) will grow 4.3 percent, a slight decrease from last year’s growth of 4.8 percent. While the numbers continue to trend upward, any slowdown in travel growth is of concern because overseas travelers contribute significantly more to the U.S. economy, spending an average of $4,300 per trip.