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When Will US Inbound Travel Fully Recover?

19 Mar 2023 By travelpulse

When Will US Inbound Travel Fully Recover?

For the first time since the pandemic, the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) released its international visitation forecast.

According to the NTTO data, inbound travel is expected to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2025 and reach 91 million international visitations by 2027, which is in line with the government's recently-announced National Travel and Tourism Strategy.

"We are hopeful that a path to 90 million by 2027 remains achievable, but this requires that the right policies are put in place and the continued strength of Brand USA so that the U.S. remains a top destination in an increasingly competitive environment," U.S. Travel Association Economist Aaron Szyf said.

The study found that total visitations in 2023 would reach 79 percent of pre-pandemic levels, as tourism numbers from China and Japan remained depressed. As for Canada, this year's numbers will stay at 81 percent of 2019 levels.

"At the same time, we do hope that this forecast will turn out to be 'too conservative,' especially as it relates to Canada, from where we have seen incredible growth throughout 2022," Szyf continued.

In 2024, the recovery is expected to increase significantly, reaching 94 percent of pre-pandemic totals. NTTO projects that inbound travel will get 115 percent of 2019 levels by 2027.

Last month, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) released a study that found travel's recovery in the U.S. could rebound strongly in 2022. The tourism industry could reach $2 trillion in GDP contribution and exceed pre-pandemic levels by 6.2 percent.

Data suggests the U.S. domestic travel spending could reach more than $1.1 trillion annually, surpassing pre-pandemic levels by 11.3 percent. International traveler spending could see a growth of $113 billion during the year, reaching nearly $155 billion, 14 percent less than 2019 levels.

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