Inbound U.S. travel fell 5% in March

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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 risks."

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 2%.

However, U.S. Travel predicts that segment will decline, too. 

"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.  

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