The U.S. travel industry is expected to post moderate gains in nearly all sectors again in 2008, according to the annual Travel Industry Association forecast. Travel spending by domestic and international visitors in 2008 is expected to increase 5.2 percent to $778.2 billion, up from projected full-year 2007 travel spending of $740 billion, which would be a 5.7 percent increase over 2006.
Domestic leisure trips are expected to continue an upward trend of modest growth in 2008, climbing 2 percent to 1.6 billion trips. Domestic leisure trips are expected to finish 2007 up 2.5 percent over last year.
International travel to the United States, which includes visitors from Canada and Mexico, is expected to rise 3.7 percent in 2008 to 55.6 million visitors, following a projected 5.1 percent increase for 2007.
However, the year-over-year data masks an 11 percent decline in overseas visitors to the U.S. from 2000 to 2007. Overseas travelers, primarily from Western Europe and Japan, represent the United States' top inbound visitors and spend the most money. Although overseas travel is expected to increase slightly in 2007, it has yet to surpass the 2000 level, despite the weak dollar making the U.S. a travel bargain. (DB)