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US Travel Sector Retains Number One Status

The US retained its status as the world’s largest travel and tourism economy despite a standstill in international visitors from China, according to major new research released by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The research shows that the US remained the biggest travel and tourism market in the world in 2018 with the sector contributing almost USD1,6 trillion to GDP. This translates to 7,8 percent of US GDP with the sector growing by 2,2 percent (accounting for inflation) in 2018.

After registering average annual growth of 23 percent over the previous decade, Chinese travel to the US was flat last year partly due to trade tensions between the two countries.

International visitors from China account for four percent of total US visitors but 11 percent of all spending, demonstrating their economic importance to the country.

Gloria Guevara, CEO, WTTC said, “The US continues to be the largest travel economy in the world registering growth of 2,2 percent in 2018. However, after recording 10 years of stellar growth, international visitor numbers from China were flat year on year, caused in part by the deteriorating trade relations between the two countries. Given the economic importance of Chinese visitors, any thawing in the trade relations between the two countries would have a positive effect for the wider US economy.”