TIA study: U.S. is losing its share of inbound travelers

Barbara Richardson, chairwoman of the Travel Industry Association (TIA), commented recently that the industry must improve the image of the U.S. with international travelers.

Referring to a TIA survey, Richardson said more than half of potential inbound travelers said theyre increasingly negative about the U.S. and that almost one in five international consumers said they will avoid buying U.S. products.

Now, a new report, the TIAs Market Share Indicator, adds more sobering evidence that the U.S. is losing its share of inbound travelers.

The report reviews a 10-year span from 1993 to 2003. It shows inbound travel to the U.S. from several countries is down considerably. Factors such as the economy and the impact of 9/11 likely contributed to the decline.

Nevertheless, the figures show the share of inbound travelers had been trending down for several years. The report found that U.S. market share as a percentage of total outbound travel from Canada was 80.8% in 1993. By 2003, the percentage had dropped to 67.7%. Similarly, the U.S. accounted for a 93.6% share of the total outbound market from Mexico in 1993. In 2003, the share was 87.8%.

The U.S. didnt fare much better in Europe. The report found that 30% of the long-haul market from the U.K. headed to the U.S in 1993. That share dropped to 27% in 2003.

Share of long-haul travel also dropped from France (20% to 10.5%), Germany (25.4% to 14.9%), Italy (21.9% to 11.8%) and Spain (21.3% to 15.2%).

Share of travelers from Asia was also down: 34.9% of Japans long-haul market headed to the U.S. in 1993, compared with 32.2% in 2003. The U.S. also lost share in Hong Kong, Australia, China, South Korea and Taiwan.

It did gain slightly with India, where the U.S had a 17.3% of long-haul travelers in 2003, compared to 16.1% in 1993.

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