Stats: U.S. Falls to #3 Travel Spot; Spain at #2

Grand Canyon  tonda/iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images
Photo by tonda/iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images

International travel to the United States is down by 4 percent, according to new data from the National Travel and Tourism Office. Experts Travel Agent spoke with at a recent panel by the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) said that the United States has fallen from number two to number three on the list of most popular countries for international travelers to visit.

According to the latest data from the National Travel and Tourism Office, there has been a 3.3 percent decline in travel spending by international visitors to the United States, as well as a 4 percent drop in inbound travel. That translates to a loss of $4.6 billion and 40,000 jobs.

Anna Blount, director of market research and insights for MMGY Global, offered some thoughts on the numbers during a panel at the USTOA’s inaugural Digital Marketing Academy. Jennifer Wesley, head of travel for Google, and Dan Peltier, tourism reporter for Skift, also spoke on the panel, which was moderated by CIE Tours Chief Commercial Officer Susan Black.


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Blount said that Spain was taking over for the United States as the second-most popular country in terms of international visitation because of the decline, even as international tourism has risen globally by 7 percent. (France has perennially occupied the number one spot.)

“It’s good news for the domestic vacation market,” Blount added, noting that intent by domestic travelers to take a vacation is up this year, which could offset some of the impact from the tourism decline. According to MMGY’s latest Portrait of the American Traveler survey, 85 percent of U.S. travelers in 2017 said they intend to take a domestic trip in the next year, up from 76 percent in 2016.

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