Tourism forecast revised for U.S. and New York City

Tourism forecast revised for U.S. and New York City
Photo Credit: Dibrova/

The United States and its largest city are downgrading tourism projections for 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

International inbound travel to the U.S. is expected to fall 6% over the next three months as the coronavirus outbreak continues to roil the global economy, the U.S. Travel Association said.  

The predicted drop would be the sharpest fall in the five years that U.S. Travel has been tracking travel using its Travel Trends Index (TTI) and the largest decline in international inbound travel since the Great Recession in 2008.

U.S. Travel CEO Roger Dow said, “There is a lot of uncertainty around coronavirus, and it is pretty clear that it is having an effect on travel demand not just from China, and not just internationally, but for domestic business and leisure travel as well.”

Visitor growth to New York City is now expected to slow to 2% in 2020 to an estimated 68 million tourists, up from 66.6 million last year, according to travel marketing bureau NYC & Company.

New York expects 1.3% fewer international arrivals, with a drop from China of nearly 26% and 12% from Asia overall. Declines are also expected from South Korea and Japan. 

Europe, which represents half of the city’s international market, is expected to modestly grow by about 2%, while South America will be flat to marginally up. Domestic travel is expected to grow approximately 3%. 

New York’s numbers assume that there will be a summer travel rebound after a period of weakness in March, April and May “as the virus and economic volatility play out around the globe.”

“Predicated on past scenarios including the SARS epidemic, the decline should be followed by a sharp rebound when demand returns,” NYC & Company said.  “In this case, we are hopeful that the recovery will coincide with the summer season.”

U.S. Travel’s latest data is from January, when coronavirus awareness began and China implemented aggressive measures to curb travel from certain cities. The numbers are expected to be worse once data becomes available for February, when the U.S. began restricting inbound travel from China and virus concern took hold around the world.

Dow stressed, “There is absolutely no official guidance that people need to be reconsidering travel in the U.S.”

“For the many of us who have upcoming plans to attend a convention or meeting or go on a family vacation, public health officials have repeatedly said there is no cause to alter those U.S.-based plans at the moment,” he said.


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