The decline in the U.S. share of the international travel market is set to continue until at least 2022, according to the latest forecast from the U.S. Travel Association.
U.S. global long-haul travel market share is on a four-year slide since its previous high of 13.7 percent in 2015, falling to 11.7 percent in 2018, according to the report. The decline in market share represent losses to the U.S. economy of 14 million international visitors, $59 billion in international traveler spending, and 120,000 U.S. jobs.
The market-share drop is now forecast to continue, dipping under 11 percent in 2022, the latest out-year in the U.S. Travel forecast.
Between now and 2022, that would mean a further economic hit of 41 million visitors, $180 billion in international traveler spending and 266,000 jobs, the U.S. Travel Association said.
U.S. Travel economists point to several factors for the forecast, foremost among them the continued, historic strength of the U.S. dollar, which makes traveling here from other countries much more expensive. Other factors include ongoing trade tensions, which materially dampen the demand for travel, and stiff competition from rivals for international tourism dollars.
Brand USA, the organization tasked with promoting the U.S. globally as a travel destination, is up for renewal via bills that have been introduced in both the House and Senate, the U.S. Travel Association noted. Brand USA was authorized by Congress a decade ago as an answer to the aggressive tourism marketing campaigns by countries that compete with the U.S. for travel market share. The marketing organization operates at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer, the U.S. Travel Association said—it is funded by a small fee on certain international visitors to the U.S., plus contributions from the private sector. Meanwhile, Brand USA's work generates an overall return on investment of 25 to 1. That Brand USA funding mechanism is currently set to expire soon.
A study released earlier this year shows that Brand USA's work brought in 6.6 million incremental international visitors to the U.S. between 2013 and 2018, at a return-on-investment of $28 in visitor spending for every $1 the agency spent on marketing.