by Allen J. Sheinman | January 10, 2017
The first monthly Travel Trends Index to encompass post-election data signals a strong showing by the travel sector in the wake of Donald J. Trump's unexpected win last November.
All travel sectors grew at rates significantly above their six-month moving averages, according to the TTI -- with notable, unanticipated growth in domestic business travel.
"Although we are optimistic about the prospects for travel under the new administration, frankly we were prepared to see a wary short-term reaction, particularly in demand for inbound international travel to the U.S.," said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow, left. "Not only has no downturn materialized, but we have seen surprising strengthening in some areas, particularly the long-foundering domestic business-travel segment. It mirrors the strong upticks we have seen in the stock market and a number of other indicators.
"Political rifts aside," Dow added, "there's really no denying that the economic news has been pretty good since election night."
Even a relatively flat international-travel segment should be seen as a victory, Dow said. The resilience of the inbound market has been remarkable in light of the many pressures it has encountered for months, including political and security disruptions abroad and, especially, the continued strong run of the U.S. dollar against other currencies.
The domestic business sector's growth outlook in the coming months, though still modest, reverses a losing streak during which it was the only TTI segment to spend most of 2016 in negative territory.
Despite domestic business travel's surprising reversal, domestic leisure travel will still remain the primary driver of U.S. travel growth into the beginning of 2017.
In the full TTI report, the six-month predictive Leading Travel Index reading of 50.9 indicates that total U.S. travel volume is expected to grow at a rate of around 1.8 percent through May 2017.
The U.S. Travel Association developed the TTI in partnership with Oxford Economics, and draws from multiple data sources to compile these monthly readings. Click here to read the full report.