U.S. Travel Association’s latest Travel Trends Index (TTI) presented the direction and pace of travel volume to and within the U.S. in April 2018.
The Current Travel Index (CTI) reading of 51.8 in April 2018 shows that travel to or within the U.S. grew 3.6% in April 2018 compared to April 2017.
Leading Travel Index (LTI) predicts moderating travel growth through October 2018, as both domestic and international travel demand support gains.
Overall travel volume (person trips to or within the United States involving a hotel stay or air travel) grew at a slightly faster year-over-year rate in April 2018 than in March 2018. International inbound travel declined, while domestic business travel outpaced domestic leisure.
The most noteworthy component of the April TTI was domestic business travel, which grew for a fourth consecutive month—the first four-month win streak for that segment since January-April 2015. Forward-looking bookings and searches for business travel appear to be on an upswing as well, leading to a strong business Leading Travel Index (LTI)—the forecasting portion of TTI.
“While travel overall is relatively healthy, particularly domestic business travel, the U.S. travel industry continues to register concern over a declining share of the global travel market,” said U.S. Travel Senior Vice President for Research David Huether. “Business confidence was soft earlier in the economic recovery, but now we’re seeing a resurgence that is attributable in part to the recent tax cuts and a more favorable regulatory environment.”
Domestic travel overall is anticipated to increase by an average of 2.4 percent year-over-year through October 2018, and international travel is expected to rise three percent in the same period. But U.S. Travel economists warn that headwinds may lie ahead in the form of rising oil prices and increased trade tensions. They also note that the growth of international inbound travel to the U.S. is being outstripped by the growth of long-haul travel globally. The U.S. is falling behind markets like Germany, France, China and the United Kingdom, whose share of the global travel market continues to increase.
International inbound travel declined slightly in April. As with the domestic market, this is likely a result of the calendar shift of Easter and should not be interpreted as a significant shift in trend. While Easter fell solidly in the middle of April in 2017, Easter occurred earlier this year (April 1), helping shift some international visitations (which are calculated based on date of arrival) into March.