International inbound travel to the United States fell 5.4% in
March year over year, a sharp decline after falling just 0.2% in February,
according to a report from the U.S. Travel Association.
The steep drop-off in inbound visitors was in part due to
the timing of Easter, which fell on April 1 last year and April 21 this year
and has historically been a peak travel time for visitors to the U.S. But U.S.
Travel said that is not the only explanation.
"The outlook for international inbound travel remains
lackluster, suggesting that a further loss of global market share is in the
cards for the U.S. in 2019," said U.S. Travel senior vice president for
research David Huether.
Looking ahead, the report predicts inbound travel growth to
remain just below 1.5% over the coming six months.
"Soft global economic activity, persistent trade
tensions and uncertainty surrounding the Trump administration remain major
risks to international traveler sentiment," U.S. Travel said. "Ongoing U.S.-China and U.K.-Eurozone
trade discussions, if resolved, have the potential to ease these downside
Travel to and within the U.S. grew 2% in March on the
strength of domestic travel market, which grew 3.2%. Business travel increased
However, U.S. Travel predicts that segment will decline,
"Continued moderation in consumer spending, vacation
intentions and business investment is expected to cause both segments of
domestic travel to cool in the coming months," U.S. Travel reported.