The latest Travel Trends Index (TTI) from the U.S. Travel Association shows a decline in February for U.S. business travel as businesses struggle to recover confidence amid volatility in international markets. The business Current Travel Index (CTI) for the month was 48.7—a number below 50 indicates decline—falling even below the 6-month average of 49.3.
The predictive 6-month Leading Travel Index (LTI) stands slightly higher at 49.7, but still forecasts a continued contraction in the business travel segment, U.S. Travel said.
Meanwhile, international inbound travel trailed the domestic market for the eighth straight month in February, due to the strong dollar's suppressive effect on foreign buying power. The weight of the dollar will likely cause international inbound travel growth to hover around 1 percent into the second quarter of 2016, U.S. Travel said.
The TTI consists of the Current Travel Index (CTI), which measures the number of person trips involving hotel stays and/or flights each month, and the Leading Travel Index (LTI), which measures the likely average pace and direction of business and leisure travel, both domestic and international inbound. It assigns a numeric score to every travel segment it examines—domestic and international, leisure and business—in current, 3-month predictive and 6-month predictive indicators. As with many indices similarly measuring industry performance, a score above 50 indicates growth, and a score below 50 indicates contraction.
The February CTI registered 51.1, down slightly from 52.2 in January, showing that travel demand still grew in February, albeit at a slightly slower rate than the previous month. Still, the CTI has been above 50—indicating growth—for 74 straight months.
In the full Travel Trends Index report, the 3-month and 6-month predictive Leading Travel Indices (which predict future industry performance) indicate a growth rate of around two percent, on average, through August 2016, with readings of 51.3 and 51.2, respectively.
The U.S. Travel Association developed the TTI in partnership with Oxford Economics, and draws from multiple data sources to develop these monthly readings.