Domestic travel is looking strong, according to the latest Travel Trends Index (TTI) from the U.S. Travel Association, which tracks both domestic travel within the United States and inbound international travel to the United States. According to the TTI, domestic travel was up 3.6 percent in May, which the U.S. Travel Association said is due to growth in both the business and leisure travel segments.
Overall, travel to and within the United States grew 3.2 percent year-over-year in May, marking the industry’s 113th straight month of overall expansion. While this is up slightly from April's 3 percent overall growth, the Leading Travel Index (LTI) predicts travel growth will soften through November 2019 as all travel segments experience softer growth, the U.S. Travel Association said.
According to the report, weakening consumer spending and business investment is projected to hurt domestic travel growth over the next six months, with the LTI predicting domestic travel growth will expand only 2 percent through November, with leisure travel outpacing business travel growth. Vacation intentions from January through April 2019 registered above 2018 levels over the same period, and forward-looking bookings and searches support predictions of continued, albeit moderate, growth.
"Domestic leisure travel has been a source of solid demand for the travel industry over the past several years," said U.S. Travel Senior Vice President for Research David Huether in a written statement. "This has been especially important given the impediments to international inbound travel growth."
Huether said that the strong dollar and lingering trade tensions have led to sluggish growth for international inbound travel, which was somewhat mitigated by the promotional work of Brand USA.
According to the TTI, international travel grew 1.2 percent in May, following three months of wide fluctuations due to the timing of Easter, which has historically been a peak travel time for inbound travel to the United States. Over the next six months, the LTI predicts international travel growth will slow to just 0.4 percent.