International and domestic travel growth are projected to
slow considerably in the first five months of 2019 due to "worrying
trends," according to the U.S. Travel Association.
"A number of factors -- notably rising trade tensions,
softening global growth and the increase in the value of the dollar against
other currencies throughout 2018 -- have the potential to dampen international
inbound travel in the near-term," said U.S. Travel senior vice president
for research David Huether.
U.S. Travel projects that inbound travel growth will
slow to 1% for the first five months of 2019, a drop from 3.8% growth for the
same period in 2018. Domestic travel growth is expected to slow to 2.4%, with
business outpacing leisure.
The slowdown is projected despite relatively strong 3% growth
in November 2018, marking the industry's 107th straight month of expansion. International
inbound travel expanded 3.8% in November and domestic travel was up 3%, with
both business and leisure travel registering gains thanks to historically high
levels of consumer confidence, U.S. Travel said.
However, U.S. Travel cautions that the road ahead for
domestic business travel could become rocky, as recent volatility in the
markets could dampen what has been a strong investment trend.
"Looking ahead, both domestic and international travel
demand are anticipated to slow amidst gradually cooling domestic and global
economies, heightened market volatility and trade tensions," said Adam Sacks, president of
Oxford's Tourism Economics group, which
prepares U.S. Travel's research.