According to the research, inbound travellers are returning in droves after the US government dropped the requirement to Covid test before entry. But while ForwardKeys’ data shows bookings increased by 93 per cent during the past six weeks compared to the same period last year, international spending in the US is still lagging other destinations and is not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2025.
“The spike in inbound bookings validates the US government’s decision to ease travel restrictions by scrapping testing for visitors and returning US citizens – something other economies did long ago,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO. “The year-over-year improvement is promising, but there is still a way to go for travel to the U.S. At the current rate of recovery, international visitor spending will not reach pre-pandemic levels until 2025.”
Simpson continued: “This finding echoes our previous study showing the US lagging other countries in international visitors, resulting in a slower-than-expected recovery of international tourism revenue.”
Spending still falls short of 2019 figures
WTTC‘s latest annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) showed 2021 international visitor spending growing only 1.4 per cent, reaching $40.3 billion, but falling far short of 2019’s total of $190.9 billion. The report predicts that many countries’ Travel & Tourism sectors will bounce back to pre-pandemic numbers next year, but the U.S. is not expected to fully recover until 2025.
Iconic cities remain popular
According to latest flight booking data, iconic American cities remain popular destinations for visitors to the US, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and Orlando leading the way.
During the past four weeks, there has also been a strong uptick in inbound flight bookings to Ft. Lauderdale, increasing seven per cent since this time last month.
The top source markets for inbound international travel are Canada, Germany, France, and Brazil. Chile and Japan also recently joined the top origination markets with inbound flight bookings increasing significantly during the past four weeks by 28% and 8%, respectively.
Outbound travel nears pre-pandemic levels
Driven by robust year-over-year growth of 35 per cent compared to 2021, U.S. outbound flight bookings have reached near pre-pandemic levels, falling just five per cent short of 2019 bookings.
International destinations such as Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, the UK, and Italy top the list for US travellers looking to get away. Joining the top destinations, the Philippines has seen an eight per cent spike in outbound flight bookings during the last four weeks alone.
Simpson added: “The good news is the travel and tourism sector is resilient and sensible border-crossing policies and reduced restrictions are helping to fuel the sector’s recovery. But more international travel is key to ensuring the pace and scale of full recovery.”
Meanwhile, almost three quarters of Singaporean travellers (73 per cent) are planning to travel overseas this summer – and 40 per cent have already booked their summer trip, according to a study by Expedia.