Leisure and business travel grew “significantly” following the surprise presidential election of Donald J. Trump in November, said the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), possibly portending a strong 2017 for the travel industry.
According to the USTA, the first monthly Travel Trends Index (TTI) to encompass post-election data “signals a strong showing by the travel sector.” Domestic leisure travel registered a 53.0 on the USTA’s TTI scale for November 2016, where anything above 50 indicates growth. Leisure travel registered below 52 in September and October.
Business travel registered a 51.9 on the TTI for November, and indications are it will grow at a rate of 1.8% through May 2017. Leisure travel will be slightly stronger.
"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.
"Not only has no downturn materialized, but we have seen surprising strengthening in some areas, particularly the long-foundering domestic business travel segment,” Dow said. "Political rifts aside, there's really no denying that the economic news has been pretty good since Election Night."
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.